Bridging Our Virtual and Physical Worlds With The Link Creation Studio10 Apr 2015
APIs are very much a virtual concept, something that is very abstract, often difficult to explain, and is something that very much lives in the online world. Spending much of my daily life in this world, I’m always excited to come across APIs that bridge this digital world, with our existing physical worlds.
At first read, you might think I’m talking about the recent growth of Internet of Things APIs, that are connecting physical devices like our thermostats and smoke alarms, to our mobile devices, using APIs. This is part of it, but for this post I’m referencing APIs that don’t just connect to objects in our physical world, but they actually bind to existing experiences, processes, and other aspects of our personal and professional worlds.
The Link Creation Studio from HP, is this. Using the web interface, or the API, you can create QR codes, and images with digital watermarks, which can be printed, then any user with a mobile device can snap a picture, which then triggers an action, that then takes the user to a specific location online--providing a bridge from a printed object in our physical world, to an online extension of that object.
This bridge comes with the ability to manage the action that is embedded in print, and the resulting online link destination. You can print the QR code, and digital watermarks, and over time see analytics for each user that traverses the bridge, from print to web page. Link Creation Studio users can also manage this experience, and change it over time to get the resulting experience, that both the publisher, and users desire.
The Link Creation Studio is a simple, but very powerful tool for building bridges between our physical and online worlds. The fact that it has an API is extremely significant, allowing these bridges to be built in real-time, from any system, whether that is a classic business print situation like business cards and product brochures, or something more ad-hoc like a individual person printing flyers, and hanging on telephone poles in their neighborhood, for a party that weekend.
This type of API implementation is more significant to me than just an API that connects, a single device to my mobile phone. This type of API can be used in a million different business, and personal scenarios, resulting in some potentially very interesting, and impactful implementations. These are the APIs that fascinate me, and hold the most potential for making big change in my opinion.
Disclosure: This story came out of a paid review I did of the HP Link Creation Studio, but as anyone who has paid me to do a review knows, a paid review does not equal a good review, let alone extra stories. These were actual thoughts I had while conducting the review, that I wanted to share once done.