Well I Never, Five Tech Developments We Didn’t See Coming

touchscreenThe world of modern technology moves so very quickly. It is difficult to keep abreast from week to week as scientists, computer experts and programmers come up with so many new and exciting developments.

Some innovations – such as the useful and fun Google Goggles – have come right out of nowhere in so far as the consciousness of the majority of the public is concerned.

Even mobile telephones with MMS capability, camera integration and web access are something which the public could never have imagined 15 years ago but which have become a necessity now. Other advances such as digital photo frames, mobile phone payments which work with scanners and online gaming with voice chat were hard to predict yet seemed likely with the way in which technology was headed for so long.

Here are just five of the most interesting developments in technology so far – we definitely didn’t see these ones coming!

iPod: The iPod is one of the iconic gadgets of our modern generation. Considering that the predecessor was the personal stereo CD player then this compact little machine really did amaze the general public. The gadget has come a very long way since the original came out and now boasts a touch screen, internet access, video capability, and an incredible amount of storage for games, music and apps.

Reverse image search: The reverse image search sites were a real innovation in themselves. To think that one could upload a photo and that software would find that item and all its relevant details on the internet was incredible.

Google Goggles has taken this technology mobile and through taking a simple photograph with a mobile phone you can find all manner of results on your chosen subject.

Cloud: Cloud computing is something which many in the know could have predicted. However, the way in which it has changed how we work forever is remarkable. By storing information and software on the internet, we now have access to our data in a way like never before.

Touch screens: We now take mobile phones with touch screens for granted and these can be purchased for a reasonable amount of money. However, when these first were introduced they were an incredible innovation.

Google Glass: Google Glass takes us into the realms of science fiction with its “augmented reality”. These streamlined glasses with a small screen above the right eye will give you information on your next appointment, the weather up ahead – and potentially so much more. This is one innovation which – if it caught on – would change the face of the world as we know it.


Sarah Paige is a writer with a keen interest in telecommunications. Sarah currently has her eye on cloud computing companies such as the Macquarie Telecom Group (ASX:MAQ). Follow her on twitter @sarahleepaige.

7 Reasons Why You Should Use YouTube for Marketing

youtube-icon-PNGLet’s just pretend that you want to find out how to tie a bow. Do a Google search and, besides a few top-rated articles, you will be served some instructional videos. You will be more likely to click on a video than on an article because in your case the former will be more helpful than the latter. After all, it’s easier to watch than to read. Now there’s a good chance that the video you’ve chosen comes from YouTube.

All online marketers use Facebook and Twitter, but many don’t use YouTube at all, or do it only marginally. That can prove to be a big mistake, as YouTube marketing has some significant benefits that no other social media sites have – not even Facebook and Twitter.

  • YouTube Is Free

It’s true that making videos and uploading them will take time, but it’s time well-invested. The video-uploading process is simple and convenient, and can be done across operating systems and devices. Probably no other video site is as optimized for mobile devices as YouTube is – uploading videos on the go is really, really easy. Once a video is uploaded it’s there forever, for everyone to view.

  • Search Engines Love Video Content

Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines rank highly websites featuring video content. Many big brands, including Coca-Cola, tend to embed YouTube videos into their homepages and other primary pages. You can upload videos to your YouTube channel and then embed them in your web pages. Search engines will love you for it.

  • Reaches to a Global Audience

YouTube videos can help your business attract customers from all over the world. Using adequate keywords is important to target the right customers. But if you have a small local business, you can also target only local customers. YouTube, with hundreds of millions of users, is in the end one of the world’s largest and most visited sites, and it can propel your content into the global spotlight. If you want to build a YouTube audience faster, you might want to buy YouTube views, while it’s a conterversal subject and practice, the bottom line is its eyeballs on your content, after all is it so bad that budlight buys views during the superbowl?

  • Improves Your Reputation

Web users love helpful videos that solve their problems and give them practical tips, and they form a favorable opinion of those who create them. By showcasing your expertise through YouTube videos you gain the trust of customers, who will be more likely to buy your products or services. Not every business has the time or energy to create and distribute free content that helps customers though. Those that do stand out.

  • Builds Trust

A customer is more likely to make a purchase from a brand they trust. Social media marketing via YouTube is a highly effective way of building trust. By creating insider videos, you give faces to the people who run your business. If the faces are honest and friendly, you will be liked. Showing the location of your business is also a good idea.

  • Spreads Your Content Across the Web

YouTube videos are one of the most shared types of content on the Web. Video content that goes viral can bring you hundreds or even thousands of viewers to your site, and that means many new customers. A video with only 10,000 viewers can bring you a huge exposure. And when that video mentions or promotes a product, it always means increased sales.

The conclusion is that YouTube marketing has many advantages that simply cannot be ignored. Use it to your advantage.

Aishwarya Vohra is a blogger and an SEO expert. She writes on topics as different as internet marketing and parenting.

The Best Video Strategy for 2013: YouTube Live & Google+

Mari Smith, called the “Pied Piper” of Facebook by Fast Company, has claimed “2013 The Year of The Video” and even has a webinar set for free on Jan 24, 2013 at 11AM to teach others how to capitalize on it. I don’t know what Mari has in store for her show, but I am interested to learn about how and if they’ll address the YouTube Live/ Google+ game change.

You see not only is YouTube the second largest search engine and the largest video network in the world, it also reports to have more than 3 billion hours of video streaming per day! With data like that, it’s hard to imagine a content or video strategy that doesn’t start with Google!

Google+ and YouTube – FREE

The combination of Google+ Hangouts and YouTube has provided an amazing way to capitalize on video in 2013, you see you can jump into Google+, start a hangout and then enable the hangouts on air feature. Once you’ve verified your YouTube Channel with Google all that’s left to do is hit “Start Broadcast”.

Most industry professionals feel that you’ll want to make this about YouTube, use their share and embed feature and you’ll get a better CTR on YouTube then you would Google+ Hangout as more people are used to that platform and it’s a much stronger brand.

Once you video stream is done, you’ll now get a chance to capitalize on SEO as YouTube will start encoding your broadcast to archive it on the channel. It’s also a great way to know your building up content and getting it out there in one session.

Video’s BIG Picture!

While some do have massive funding to run high end production, most businesses and individuals do not. It’s also true that sometimes production takes out the personal experience that live streaming tends to capture and most of us enjoy connecting with.

Plan out your topic, grab some resources but let the camera roll! This is a chance to be natural and take advantage of the social web. Let people grow with an in interest in who you are, what you offer and the topics you are passionate about. This is the long term strategy that just about anyone would recommend, don’t believe me ask Seth Godin! In a Google Hangout held in Google’s NYC office I asked Seth and Seth made it clear, “those that are genuine are the ones that will be around in the long run”.

Have a Plan

While this may seem free, it’s really not, you’re going to need to devote time to this. Treat your video strategy like a book, draw out an outline and go chapter by chapter and let the topics naturally flow into one another. To address business needs, make sure you have something of value to offer and give some conclusion in each video as you’re looking for a following, think TV series.


Mobile Data Research Opportunities Grow

Gone are the days when all you could do on your phone was make calls and send texts, and you had to lug around a handset the size of a small brick. Now increasing numbers of us are using smartphones on which people can surf the internet, take photos and use apps as well as making calls and sending texts. Many marketers are seeing this growing smartphone use as a huge opportunity for market research and are approaching the concept in innovative ways.

Market Size

The market for smartphones is huge, and growing steadily. It is estimated that there are 6 billion smartphones being used around the world, and more than half of us in the UK have and use a smartphone. As handsets come down in price and contracts end, it’s fair to say that this number will rise even higher. The apps market has grown from almost zero in little over 5 years, and all major companies are looking at ways to interact with their customer base by using mobile apps and technology.


Most companies are actively exploring the possibilities offered by mobile phone research as a new method of being able to interact with their customers. One of the major benefits is the speed of the information being relayed after purchase. Imagine you have a customer who has downloaded your research app into their phone, and by using GPS you know they have just gone into a major supermarket. They can then be immediately targeted with surveys relevant to what they are buying and why, and data can be more accurate when the purchase or decision is fresh in the memory. As well as the basic questionnaire, the smartphone also gives the market researcher the opportunity to ask participants to scan bar codes of the products they are buying or have rejected, take pictures of items or displays in the store or labelling on products. Some of the research doesn’t even have to involve answering questions. Apps can track where people go using GPS, track how long they spend in each store, and gather data about other issues such as how they manage their music collection, how long they spend taking photographs or how often they download new music or apps to use on their phone.

Getting People Involved

This all sounds great, but it does of course hinge on getting enough people involved and downloading the apps to be able to take the surveys. Perhaps surprisingly, over 80% of people surveyed in recent research said that they would be prepared to download the research app onto their smartphone and be targeted with surveys as they go about their everyday business. One of the main drawbacks of traditional or internet based research is that it can be skewed in favour of certain demographic groups and it can be difficult to get a representative sample. Young men, for example, are often reluctant to participate in traditional surveys but seem happy to complete surveys on their phone.

Creative Commons image source

This was an article by Kieran Graham of Mobile Enterprise Solutions. MESL specialise in Mobile Data Systems for delivery companies and supply chains. Follow Mobile Enterprise Systems on Twitter to keep up to date.

How to Use Your WordPress Website in Mobile Marketing

wordpress-mobile-themesIt seems like everyone has some kind of mobile device these days. They’re so distracting that places like hospitals and restaurants are banning people from using them while inside those buildings.

Certain areas of the United States are passing laws that prohibit people from using them while driving. But all the people using these devices have one clear benefit, and that’s in mobile marketing for your small business.

If your small business website isn’t compatible with mobile devices, then you’re giving up the opportunity to reach millions of mobile internet users, some of who rarely if ever use an actual computer. Depending on the type of device they use, how your website appears to them could look very different compared to what you see on your computer screen.

Creating a Mobile-Friendly Small Business Website

WordPress is a great platform for small business websites. It’s a great place to start because it’s easy to update. Google likes WordPress. WordPress is updated frequently and there are a lot of features called plugins that you can just turn on. There’s even one to make your website more mobile-friendly by doing things like making your blog posts more readable.

A lot of the newer plugins have something called responsive web design. Those will actually reformat themselves based on the size of the screen viewing them. WordPress offers a lot of great solutions and if you already use the content management system, it’s going to be easier to give visitors to your site a nice viewing experience.

Designating an Employee to Update the Website

A lot of business owners are so busy, but they also have staff that can learn how to mobile-enable the company website. If this sounds like your situation and you aren’t technically inclined, consider signing up an employee for a class like Mobile Marketing for Non-Techies through

www.theschoolofinternetmarketing.com,  where people can learn to use WordPress to build their own site in a single weekend.

The benefit of signing up an employee for a course like this is that they’re probably younger. They are probably more internet-friendly. And best of all, they probably have a mobile device – or maybe even a plethora of mobile devices that they can use to see how your company website appears via those different methods.

WordPress is the Cost-Efficient Choice

The next thing to consider is, how practical is this? It’s not uncommon to run across someone who has spent thousands of dollars in an attempt to build a website that they don’t know anything about – including whether or not it’s mobile-enabled, or how to update it with that fresh content that Google loves. In that sense, WordPress is the obvious choice.

WordPress has all the functionality of software that would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars little more than a decade ago. Most of the plugins you need are free, or you might decide to invest a few dollars on a specialty theme or to learn how to get started. For a small business, WordPress is very cost effective.

Mobile Marketing Plugins for WordPress

Plugins are similar to an iPhone or Android app, where you download it and it extends the functionality of your smartphone, tablet, or other internet-ready device. A plugin is the same idea. It adds more functionality to your website, and most of the apps are free. Here are some plugins that help make your WordPress site more mobile-friendly.

  • DeviceAtlas – This little plugin packs quite a punch. It determines what type of device your visitor is using and then directs them to the mobile version of your site that is compatible with their device operating system.
  • WordPress Mobile Adapter – In just a few clicks, make your WordPress site readily able to support more than 5,000 we-enabled devices.
  • WordPress Mobile Pack – This plugin gives a lot of control. However, it has so many options that it can seem overwhelming at first.

When people are searching for you on your phone from Google or some other way, they’re going to wind up at your website first. So you want your website to look right without requiring them to download an app first. It’s inconvenient, and many will just move on to another site instead of going through the hassle of downloading an app.

One of the misconceptions people have is mobile apps versus mobile-enabled websites. People are used to downloading app, and apps are great. Everyone with a smartphone has used apps whether it’s to play Angry Birds or Draw Something, or just to use Yelp or Foursquare to find a restaurant. As a small business owner, you can do both but the starting point is to get your website mobile-enabled. From there, the possibilities are endless.

James Martell is an Internet pioneer who discovered the lucrative world of the Internet in 1999. He is a leading expert in affiliate marketing, SEO & outsourcing. He lives in White Rock BC, a suburb of Vancouver, with his wife Arlene. Follow him on Twitter @JamesDMartell

A Look At Mobile Marketing [INTERNSHIP]

2d Mobile Barcode Scanning Instant VisibilityMobile marketing is sky rocketing due to smart phones and advanced technologies coming about. Mobile marketing is marketing on a mobile device or through the means of any wireless network. This includes cell phones and tablets. Mobile marketing is an extension of online marketing that focuses on targeted audiences viewing ads on their mobile devices.

Mobile ads command a lower price on average than web and print advertisements. With so many people owning a cell phone or tablet, mobile marketing is the least expensive way to advertise. Mobile marketing includes SMS and MMS, display ads, QR codes, mobile websites, mobile apps, and more.

SMS (short message service) is a great way for businesses to make sure they are reaching out to their audience. By taking advantage of the SMS feature on mobile phones, businesses can create brand awareness by informing their subscribers of new product or service information through text messaging. SMS has expanded quickly as a new channel to reach the consumers. MMS (multimedia messaging service) has taken SMS to a different level by including pictures, videos, and sounds. By adding pictures, videos, and sounds, this makes the ad more persuasive. This gives the consumers more appealing content instead of just words. Pictures, videos, and sounds gives the advertisement a lot more visibility because it’s more interesting to the eye.

Setting up a mobile website is a lot easier than it looks. This process takes your existing website content and formats it for a mobile screen. This makes it much easier for a consumer to browse your site. WordPress has plugins that may help you through the process of making your website mobile. There are many other websites that can turn your website into a mobile one, simply Google “mobile website converter”.

Another way to advertise your business through mobile networks is to claim your business on a location-based platform. This lets your customers “check-in” with sites like foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter, gaining your visibility to other possible consumers. While on a website, it would be ideal for your business’ ad to “pop up”. Running a mobile ad campaign is a good idea for visibility. While roaming on the internet a person can see that your new restaurant is nearby and offers a unique experience.

QR codes (quick response codes) are those little bar like squares that are able to be scanned. There are getting increasingly popular because they are easy to use. The only downside to QR codes is that they can only be scanned by smart phones. Using websites like Beetagg.com allows you to download the QR code that you want to launch. QR codes bring you to that business app. Mobile apps are a huge success so far in smart phones and tablets. Apps are sometimes the main reason a person would want to get a smart phone or tablet. Apps are like mobile websites but offer something different. You can make your app free or cost money, it is up to you. People prefer apps over websites because apps are easier to navigate and are different than a typical website. Variety is always key.

Mobile technology is the future. Soon as we know it everyone will own a smart phone and or tablet. Mobile marketing is doable for any small business or large corporation. It is a way for a company to connect to their audience anytime and anywhere. It comes in handy because people are always on the go and always on their cell phones. Bringing advertisements to their finger tips is definitely a smart move.


 The content in this article is part of Digital Ethos’s Digital Media Education in the Higher Education Internship Program, the content was created by @KaylaMarzo, a Student at Suffolk County Community college, intern at Digital Ethos.


Social media is all about telling stories. Technology continues to make it easier, faster and more appealing to tell, share and even re-share our stories. It has also become about telling our stories in both words and pictures. The bluebird sings the social media theme song, at right, ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’. 

a blue bird sings the social media story

A bluebird singing the social media song, ‘Let Me Tell You A Story’ from an image @ 123rf.com

Up until about a year ago, the story telling method was primarily verbal. Thanks to the meteoric rise in popularity of Pinterest, Instagram and other visual tools, it is clear that people want the option of using pictures, not just words, to tell and view things.

Look how dramatically facebook’s landscape has changed to include massive visual real estate. See the facebook timelines for business cover page at the end of this story.

The verbally based social media tools have known this for sometime. Google purchased YouTube. Yahoo purchased flickr. Facebook acquired Instagram and no one has been able to buy Pinterest.

It stands heads above most other social media, has done so in record time and is believed to be the first visual application to accomplish this. In addition, there is ground breaking news that the White House will start using Pinterest on December 17, 2012.

Both verbal and visual apps have unique characteristics and value. Amongst the most popular are: • facebook • twitter • LinkedIn • WordPress • Google • Pinterest • YouTube • Instagram

WordPress sharing bar

Sharing  is  a click away.

Users have their preferences and loyalties for story telling and sharing. There are formulas for sharing stories that vary with users. As one becomes more proficient in the use of social media, these formulas develop into personal systems.

There is no one system that is the answer to sharing for everyone. But certain apps and combinations of them work well. In time, we each discover what fits our style. WordPress makes this very easy with their sharing button bar shown at left.

For example, let’s say a story is written in Word. It then can become a blog post in WordPress with still images, video and even audio. Once the story is written, it needs to be shared. Certain venues have proven to be most successful at this. In fact, in order to make sharing a breeze, sharing buttons are installed right on blog post pages.

Why is sharing so important? Sharing attracts attention, engages an audience, allows one to stay connected manually and automatically, fosters the development of  trusted relationships and ultimately can increase business or establish a personal, professional presence.

One may not be looking to provide a service or even a product in the traditional sense of business. Providing and sharing information is the essence of social media. Just think about how much we know, how easily we can learn and share things compared to a generation ago. It is all due to social media allowing us to tell our stories.

Do you have a story that you would like to share, one that social media has enhanced or caused to go viral? Would you like to share or comment about this blog post? Your comments, suggestions and feed back are all part of the story. Please share with us in the comments area. Thank you from the author.

The Social Media Marketing Graphic Design page

facebook’s new timelines for business has given tremendous opportunities for visual real estate as shown in the example here. ©http://www.MarketingBytes.biz and http://www.facebook.com/PageCoverMastery



Amy Porterfield’s FB Influence 2.0 Webinar

Bringing Your Marketing To Life Through Video by Dr. Marc and Charlie

Obama White House joins Pinterest

Marketing Lessons from the 2012 Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates

Nationwide the “conversation” in October centered on the three presidential debates and the vice presidential debate.  From the perspective of a business person involved with public relations, media relations and social media, the debates were extraordinary spectacles.  When taking the time to analyze them from a marketing standpoint, each provided perfect examples of effective marketing, communication and branding techniques.  It is worthwhile revisiting the debates and look at the techniques that were validated by each of the candidates.

It was clear the candidates were, for the most part, well prepared for each debate with clear, concise and consistent messages created for the sole purpose of winning over voters.  For example, Gov. Romney’s five point plan was repeated in all the debates to reach his base and the pool of undecided voters.  This was an effective approach for the candidates and it can be effective for you too.  A business marketing plan with a well formulated message about your products and/or services when repeated by you enough will resonate with customers and prospects.

President Obama, as the incumbent, went into the first debate with the advantage of having been in office for nearly four years, but despite this, his performance in the debate allowed viewers to see how vulnerable he could be.  In the following debate he was prepared to deliver his message with conviction.  By his own admission, he was “awake,” enough to get credited with winning the 2nd debate.  In the business world, a CEO who appears to be a leader unwilling to face business challenges and competition could be branded as weak.  Many today consider the brand of a CEO a mirror of the business’s brand.  So if the CEO doesn’t recognize his/her shortcomings and is lackadaisical about taking action to improve it, his career and/or the business can suffer, perhaps even fail.

It was interesting that FOX News introduced the “Twitter Box” for its social media minded audience watching or listening to the debates and election results.  Seeing tweet numbers fluctuate with highs and lows indicating favorable and unfavorable answers to questions or reactions to candidate gestures during the debates was telling. The idea of following tweets was novel but reasonable considering the impact of social media on the presidential campaign and the outcomes as to who won or lost each debate.  In our everyday lives and in the business marketplace Twitter, LinkedIn, FaceBook and YouTube have earned their keep by proving they make an impact on our daily lives and businesses.  If you are in business and you’re ignoring or unwilling to adopt appropriate social media vehicles, your business growth and vitality can be stymied.

According to dailycaller.com, the first debate, on Oct. 3, 2012, set a Twitter record. 10.2 million Tweets were sent during the event, the most sent during a U.S. political event in Twitter’s short history.  7.2 million tweets were sent during the the second presidential debate on Oct. 16, according to Twitter’s official count.  The third and final presidential debate appeared to spark less interest among Twitter users than either of the previous two debates.

People who listened to the debates and did not see the candidates drew different opinions as to debate winners, on style and content.  As mentioned, messaging is extremely important.  Radio listeners didn’t see Vice President Biden’s smiles that were interpreted as rude and  inappropriate or Paul Ryan’s “nervousness” attributed to his “gulping water” from a glass ever so often.  Viewers interpreted their gestures and actions. Listeners did not have to deal with the gestures.  Their opinions of who won or lost was based on the substance of what they heard – the messages.

Following the vice presidential debate columnist Charles Krauthammer on FOX News gave his perspective on the candidates’ performances. Krauthammer said, “If you heard it on radio, Biden won. If you watched it on television, he lost.”

What does this tell us about marketing?  Presentations you make related to your business, professional practice or services and products or areas of expertise, must be well prepared.  The way you present yourself at all times must not be off-putting.  When conducting a seminar, making a speech or networking at a business event, it is essential to convey a sense of openness to others.  You want to be a “likeable” and “approachable” person.  Looking stern, hammering the podium, pointing at someone to make your point, interrupting or talking over someone will not come across very well in a business circle.  How to overcome these and other pitfalls to public speaking and interaction with business peers? Practice and practice again and again.  That’s precisely what the candidates did, but under pressure even they had moments when they fell short of their “likability” goals.

According to www.business2community.com “Your professional image can be greatly impacted by the way you interact with others. Portraying your best self is critical for preserving your reputation and establishing likability. Pay attention to the way you interact with others, no matter who they are—or how much you may disagree with them. Whether you’re a politician or an office worker, your personal brand matters if you want to maintain credibility. The presidential debates show that even the smallest elements, like articulation and body language, matter when it comes to promoting your best image.”

There is no question that business people can learn effective marketing, communications and branding techniques from the success and shortfalls from these debates.


5 Ways Windows 8 Will Benefit Businesses

The brand new Windows 8 is finally here after being released back in October 2012, and it will soon be the default operating system on all new laptops and PCs, as well as on Microsoft tablets such as the upcoming Surface tablet.

The changes to this new Windows OS and the differences compared to the most recent Windows operating systems have already been commented upon. However, it is the benefits that Windows 8 will bring to business users that has become one of the software’s biggest talking points.

So, what will Windows 8 bring to businesses? The following are 5 of the biggest advantages for companies of all sizes:

1.Better, faster booting.

New PCs installed with Windows 8 will be using Unified Extensible Firmware Interface (UEFI), a brand new boot solution. UEFI, used instead of BIOS, promises to improve booting up and make it far faster, as well as requiring fewer restarts. This can save time for the IT department and significantly increase office productivity.

2.Support for tablets and desktops.

As well as having a classic desktop interface, Winsows 8 will also have an interface that has been optimised for touch screen tablets. Users can choose their preferred interface depending on their needs.

3.Windows To Go.

The new Windows to Go feature in Windows 8 allows you to install the software on a portable drive, so that you can take it away with you and boot it up on another PC. As well as being convenient and versatile, this new Windows to Go feature can also act as a good backup for corrupt or infected PCs.

4.Compatibility with existing hardware.

Windows 8 will apparently run on existing hardware, so that businesses don’t have to shell out to replace all their Windows 7-era hardware to use the new software. Microsoft has even suggested that the software may even run on some pre-Windows 7 machines.

5.New Windows 8 app store.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to make an app store available for Windows 8 when it is launched on general release, so that downloading and installing new applications is easier, especially for smaller businesses.

Whenever a new operating system is released by Windows, there is always a sense of excitement on what updates and new features have been introduced so many businesses will be taking an interest in this new operating system and if you’re not, you should be!

Christine Elderidge works for Cartridge Monkey Ltd, the UK’s leading supplier of cheap ink cartridges. Follow them on twitter @CartridgeMonkey

QR Codes on Gravestones to Access Memorials

Walking through a cemetery is often eerie and rather uncomfortable, especially knowing there were people who lost their lives and were buried in the ground beneath you. It’s not unusual to wonder about those who are deceased and what their stories were. When looking at gravestones you know their names and their life span, but who were they really? What did they do with their lives and what were they known for. Soon these questions will be answered with as little as a scan of your cell phone.

QR codes, the two-dimensional barcodes that have grown to be extremely popular over the past few years, are making their way now onto gravestones. Starting in the UK and quickly moving to America, gravestone producers are offering the addition of QR codes to direct those interested to an interactive memorial for the person who has died.

These interactive memorials can include anything from pictures, videos and contributions from family and friends. There are even people now who are creating their own memorials so that they can structure how it’s laid out and how they’re remembered.

Imagine being able to structure what people see in your memorial, what your last thoughts were and what messages you’d like to send to family and friends. This also creates easy access to family tree information, making it much easier than digging for birth records in the future.

Of course with new technology such as this, there are bound to be challenges. The idea of putting a QR code on a structure that’s made to last for hundreds of years creates a number of difficulties. You can go to any graveyard and see how different recent gravestones look compared to stones that are hundreds of years old. As a gravestone weathers and changes over time, a QR code can become much more difficult to read and scan. Textures like sandstone and granite will change and the codes you have etched into them will change as well.

Another challenge you run into with adding these codes to gravestones is the technology itself. While the QR code technology has been around for a couple decades already, it’s never a sure thing that it will be around in another 10 to 20 years. With technology always evolving, another two-dimensional technology could replace the QR code, making the current QR codes obsolete and unreadable.

By creating a memorial for someone online, this creates another issue regarding the website URL. With the Internet constantly evolving, URL technology could very well change within the next several decades. This puts you at risk of losing all of these records over time. While the current technology appears to be here to stay, you never know what the future holds for us and what advancements will be made to completely change the way we do things today.

The idea of preparing for your own death may be morbid, but it’s a reasonable thought process. Rather than being remembered for a tragic accident, a health condition, etc, why not shape exactly how you want to be remembered and implement that as an interactive memorial. This way, the next time someone’s walking through a graveyard and sees the QR code on your gravestone, they have the opportunity to learn about who you really were, not just when you passed away.

Patricia Goldbum is a freelance writer focusing on technology. As a business owner, Patricia has just implemented barcode stickers and labeling to stay on track and keep her business organized.

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