Cursors for the Physical World

Ah, the age of mobile. Just a few months ago Google changed its algorithm to prioritize mobile-friendly websites but most of us have felt the growing importance of smartphones for awhile now (the “where’s my phone?!” panics and multiple apps we rely on to stay in touch, be in the know, and get from point a to b, for example).  

This week Benedict Evans of Andreessen Horowitz and Steve Cheney of Estimote did a great podcast called “Location, Location, Location – and Mobile” on what the “age of mobile” could really mean now that, as Cheney says, you are “cursors for the physical world.” The world is the canvas, and you (and your phone) are the cursor. This idea totally grabbed us, as we at Cuseum believe in the revolutionary power of beacons, the technology that allows smartphones and the apps on them to “communicate” with and react to the physical world, to enrich how we experience museums.

Cheney and Evans focused on location, indoor mapping, and contextual computing: all an integral part of what we’re building at Cuseum. The sensors in your smart phone can pinpoint your location, tell where you are relative to another person or object, and gather information that gives your device a kind of intuition. Or at least the possibility is there: “The phone could potentially tell you when you’re hungry, when you’re on your treadmill, and what music to listen to… but how does it really know what you’re going to do? How does it know that you’re indoors?” ask Cheney and Evans. The missing link, they say, is the “layer of context in indoor physical environments”… basically your phone knowing whether you’re inside and what you’re doing when you’re there.

At Cuseum we’re using beacon technology to bridge the physical and digital worlds of art and culture. If we are metaphorical “cursors” to the physical world, we see the museum as being one of the most interesting places to be a cursor paintbrush! (*wink*) 

Part way through the podcast Evans notes:

 “The challenge for this location stuff is (it’s always been like a chicken and egg problem) that the beacon was there but you had to have the app that knew what to do with those beacons, and so, that was great if you were going to spend the day in the museum and you could install the museum app, but if you went into a mall then (you think) ‘Am  I’m going to install the mall app?’”

As most can agree, there is so much potential around beacon technology, in general, but especially in the museum, art, and cultural arena.

We have created a mobile app platform that is proximity-aware and seamlessly delivers content using beacons – it allows for interactions between visitors and works of art. Our apps enable your visitors to easily take on-demand tours of your collection and to actively engage with and captivate them. In addition, we offer analytics and insights so you and your team can better understand how patrons interact with the art and, ultimately, make better decisions on how to improve the experience.

Interested in learning more? We can help you take advantage of the latest technology to create not just “visits” to your museum, but journeys. Contact us to get started.