Internet Librarian 2011: Next Big Trends: Near Field Communication & Interactive Picture Books
Gretchen Caserotti, Kristen Yarmey, and Sheli McHugh
Gretchen Caserotti talked about interactive digital picture books. Just as with print books, with digital books picture books get checked out in huge “stacks” while other books may get checked out one or two at a time. The pricing for interactive picture books is very competitive – $1.99 for an app. There are millions of these out there… Gretchen tried to demonstrate Overdrive’s eBooks but it wouldn’t appear on the screen (!!!). Hmmm… What makes a good app? Are there customizable features? Can you turn music on and off, resize it? The Cat in the Hat app offers read it to me, auto-play, or read it myself. Anything on the screen lets you click on it and get audio and text descriptions—a great way to learn to read, says Gretchen. Freight Train is great. The Moo, Baa, La La, La is one of the best preschool apps out there. You can touch and interact with everything on the screen – and it is an exact representation of the printed book as well, And when you turn the pages, it looks exactly like turning real pages. It gives you feedback too – day, and night, are two different colors. Everything on the page gives you feedback, but it’s an appropriate level of interaction for preschoolers. Other picture book apps of note: The Monster at the End of the Book, Spot the Dot, and Pat the Bunny. The book (in print) is a touch interaction book, and has a mirror on one page. The iPad app uses the camera in the device to simulate the mirror experience. It’s also non-linear. Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes is another noteworthy book too. Nurse Rhyme Storytime is a good app – lets you interact using the device’s gyroscope to shake to expose words hidden under illustrations. The Three Little Pigs story lets you interact with the story by blowing into the microphone to act as the wolf to blow the piggy’s house down. Awesome! While there are no industry standards, there are important features that we could agree on – is the story itself good, is it usable, what is the level of vocabulary, etc. Looking for kids’ app reviews online: Best Kids Apps, Children’s Technology Review, Common Sense Media, Digital Storytime, Lunchbox Reviews, Moms with Apps, and School Library Journal.
Kristen Yarmey and Sheli McHugh talked about near field communication (NFC). What is NFC? A way for devices to transmit and receive information wirelessly at close range. 2-10 cm usually. How does it work? It’s an evolved, specific form of RFID. You need an initiator which can emit a radio frequency field and a target that can respond to that field (e.g. a smart phone and a tagged smart poster). When you get close enough to the target with your initiator, the target responds and establishes a communication pattern so the two devices can exchange data. They don’t have to be powered—they power themselves off of the radio frequency field the other device is putting out. They can be read-only or read-write. They do store significantly more data than QR codes, up to 1mb of data. They can exchange data too, not just give a one-shot burst of data like QR codes do. So why does this matter? Why do we need NFC when we have QR Codes, WiFi, and BlueTooth? NFC is a much faster connection. There’s a Nokia speaker that lets you just tap your phone to the speaker and the NFC connection then allows the rest of the communication and data to be exchanged via BlueTooth. To sync your documents, just tap your phone to your computer, etc. NFC is already being used for mobile payments. Your phone essentially works as your credit card. Some of the players here: Google Wallet, and ISIS (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) and Visa Wallet are coming. Yale Locks will be putting out NFC locks on the market soon (KEyLink smart car keys do this too). Mobile Marketing with NFC: Proxama, Google Media. Social Media: FourSquare at Google I/O, Google+, and NFriendConnector is in prototype. NFC is really usful for gaming too – Angry Birds has been using NFC with what they’re calling Magic Places (go someplace physical and tap your phone to get levels unlocked). Fruit Ninja gives you access to new blades too. We’re starting to see this in public transportation, parking, health care, tickets, grocery stores, and more. Rosetta Stone will embed a computer chip into your gravestone and people visiting your grave can hear all about your life story. (!!!!!!!!!) In 5 or so years, we expect NFC on all of our phones. PayPal, Square, and eBay are more naysayers about the NFC technology… Who to watch? ISIS and Apple. What does this mean for libraries? A mobile collection—NFC tags on books or media resources w/ reviews, bib info, author biographies, using it for self-check-out, social interactions. Bibliotecha has a prototype app for off-the-shelf self-checkout with NFC & smart phones. WOW! It provides a speedy portal between our patrons and our collections. We need to keep security and privacy in mind as we move forward with NFC as it has proven hackable, and we’re all about patron privacy…so yeah. Let’s be smart.