Researchers at Siemens are calling new technology "digital graffiti," though it's not really graffiti. It's more like a mobile phone version of the omnipresent Post-it notes.
The application allows mobile phone owners to send a message, similar to an SMS (Short Message Service), to a geographical point where it appears on the screens of other users passing through the defined location. Unlike an SMS, the message is not sent to a person but rather to a location, and can be received by a number of mobile phone users entering the defined radius.
The Siemens digital graffiti application is more than a mobile phone location-based service, which typically offers local information provided by network operators and their content providers, according to a company spokesman; the application also allows users to post notes to a zone themselves.
Here's how it works: Users type in messages on a mobile device. The message is sent via a wireless link to a server, which assigns it to a geographical point and holds ready for call-up. The server then transmits the message to people entering the designated zone.
Pictures can be sent in addition to text messages, and all of the information can expire after a set date.
"Imagine a foreman walking through a plant and making notes of things to check for the maintenance crew on the production floor, or a friend who really knows his way around an area leaving tips of places to go for less familiar buddies," the spokesman said.
That's easy to image but so is the potential for spam. A problem? "No, there will be ways to accept and reject messages," the spokesman said.
The technology, developed in cooperation with researchers at the University of Linz in Austria and the Ars Electronica Center in Linz, is about two years from commercial roll-out, according to Siemens.