Taking away content

Our screens are now able to show more information than ever before – events, tide times, weather, information set by the venue itself – and it whizzes by at a fair rate of knots.

But what happens if a user sees an event they’d like to book tickets for and want to take that information away with them? This is a question we’ve been pondering since the project started.

We’ve run quick-to-type links previously – a user sees an event, opens the browser on their phone or laptop and types them in. It’s OK as a fall back, but it’s not the best experience. By the time you’ve got your phone at the ready, the information you want may be long gone. If you’re my age, you’ll remember waiting for pages of the BBC’s Ceefax service to cycle round (maybe put the kettle on?) and it’s the same issue here.

So we’re trying other things. First up is using a bit of easy to deploy Near Field Communication technology to make the hard stuff simple.

Business card supplier MOO offers NFC enabled cards – touch your phone to the card and it’ll perform an action, in this case transferring you to a web page where you can find more info.

We’re trying the cards to see what people think and they’ll be on NowScreens near you very soon. Right now they only work with modern Android phones, not iPhones. Recent iPhones have NFC, but Apple only allows its use for Apple Pay – hopefully they’ll loosen things up soon.

Also we can only direct users to a single web page and that needs to be fixed up front – we can’t vary the link according to what the screen is showing at the time. We’re sending people to the events page of Visit Eastbourne where they can get a lot more detail about the events shown on our screens – it’s a pretty good fit.

We’re trying other technologies too. We’ve already dabbled with iBeacon which enables NowScreens to broadcast messages to all iPhones in the vicinity and will post more about that soon.

If you’ve grappled with stuff like this we’re interested in swapping notes – get in touch.

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