QR codes used to share a U.K. city’s history with smartphone users

QR Code history
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QR Codes used to show history of town

Newport is using mobile commerce through barcodes to share its fascinating past.

The South Wales city of Newport, in the United Kingdom is taking important steps into mobile commerce by using QR codes to share its history with visitors and residents, alike.

Signs featuring the barcodes are now posted all around the city center as well as at various landmarks.

With a smartphone or a tablet computer and any free QR code scanner app, a visitor or a local can scan one of the signs and learn more about the specific site through the stories of locals who witnessed events (or that were passed down through the generations), vintage photographs, and archive film videos.

The program, called the Newport Explorer, lets QR codes bring people back to another time in the city.

Each of the QR codes directs users to a unique webpage that is specific to the site at which the sign is posted. Visitors who have scanned the quick response barcodes can then view a range of different types of information and media that will help them learn more about where they are and the past stories that surround it.

Among the locations that are expected to be the most popular are the retelling of Chartist uprising eyewitness accounts at the Westgate Hotel, images of Commercial Street and High Street that are more than a hundred years old, and a filming of the 2010 high-wire walk between the city footbridge masts.

Other highlights include old views of the Belle Vue park, as well as videos of John Peel’s visit to TJs. Additional locations currently include the Old Green Roundabout, Lower Dock Street, opposite the previous locations on TJs on Clarence Place, John Frost Square, and the Ye Olde Murenger House. The barcodes can be found on information boards that are already designed to provide some information about a location, but they are also found on places such as lamp posts, where the only information that is available about the spot is online.

The material available through the scanned QR codes is currently compatible with iPhone, Android, and Blackberry devices.

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