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February 10, 2010

Nokia Point & Find real-world pilot in UK – hands-on report (part two)

N95-point-and-findCOLCHESTER, England – Yesterday we brought you initial hand-on thoughts from our first real-world encounter with Point & Find in the wilds of Colchester city centre. Having successfully scanned a collection of smart Point & Find enabled icons at a bus shelter (shoveling stacks of location-savvy info on our surroundings straight to our N95) we moved on to test Point & Find’s talents in trickier scenarios. Read on for the part two of our Point & Find experience.

Next on the checklist of Point & Find things to try out in Colchester was poster advertisements. Our first chance meeting was with a large McDonalds ad, but on scanning it we were simply taken to their website. This wasn’t a bad thing, because it worked, however it wasn’t really an inspiring example of what could be done with Point & Find and advertising, such as offering special deals or some other valuable or more quirky info – that said the technology worked, but it was more of case of the medium not being fully exploited. Our next encounter proved more promising, in the shape of a big Maryland Cookies poster (pictured below). On scanning it, we were immediately fed a bunch of useful and interesting info nuggets on Maryland Cookies, including a backgrounder and history of the sweet snack, flavour details, packaging info along with a link to the website. Certainly more than we’d expected from our initial McDonalds exchange.


Hot on the heels of this success, we were keen to try a movie poster, so hunted one down (Alice in Wonderland), but unfortunately on scanning the poster it brought up a trailer, running time, cast list, director and screenshots… for the wrong film (The Decent 2). We couldn’t find any other movie posters to test on our travels, which was a shame. As was the fact that we couldn’t get the 2D barcode scanner to work, repeatedly being met with a “no data” message. However, we quickly got over this set-back once we began to play with the manual search feature.

One of the best aspects of the Point & Find service is that it isn’t solely limited to the Augmented Reality action of scanning real-world objects to receive pertinent local info. It can be used as a standalone location-savvy tool, letting you manually search for stuff, so you can hunt for information related to wherever you might be in the city. What’s great about this is that it means you’re never fully reliant on scanning what’s around you to be fed info you might want or need – the benefit of scanning objects such as posters, landmarks and other real-world markers is that you’re given info about things you mightn’t know, or are curious about, or special offers that might otherwise not be available to you if you weren’t using Point & Find. But if you know exactly what you’re after, such as your nearest taxi rank late at night, you can easily access this info without the need of a full Augmented Reality experience, which offers both a practical and piece-of-mind benefit.

A prime example of the power of Point & Find’s manual search was when we tried searching for a particular videogame – it immediately returned a list of results of nearby places that stocked it, and not only big-name stores, but lesser-known smaller games shops in the vicinity that we wouldn’t have otherwise known existed. It felt like a brilliantly valuable piece of local information to have received.

Our initial experience with Point & Find left us hugely encouraged at what this service could evolve to become in the future. Sure, there are some creases that need ironing out in the ongoing development process, but overall it worked well for the most part, and even threw up a few smart surprises and some truly useful pieces of local info from scanning our surroundings.

We’ll continue to eagerly follow the evolution of Point & Find as it evolves in test environments, and look forward to exploring more of its capabilities and potential applications.

Where do you think there’s most scope for development with the Point & Find service? Are there any other opportunities for how it could be used? As ever, share your thoughts in the comments section due south.

Read part one of our hands-on experience with Point & Find in Colchester, UK.

Nokia Point & Find currently supports the following handsets: Nokia N97, N97 mini, N96, N95 8GB, N95,N86 8MP, N85, N82, N81, N81 8GB, N79, N78, N76, E71, E66, E63, E51, 6720, 6290, 6220, 6210 Navigator, 6124 Classic 6121 Classic, 6120 Classic, 6110 Navigator, 5700 Xpress Music, 5530 XpressMusic and 5800 XpressMusic

If you want to find out more about Nokia Point & Find, click here.