It’s really nothing that new. Companies like FedEx have been connecting physical things to the web for years. Most of the examples are similar though – they involve scanning codes and updating systems to keep customers up-to-date. Another notable one is Domino’s pizza tracker. A system that lets the pizza makers scan barcodes at certain parts of the pizza making process to update their customers on the Web.
Recently we’re seeing an increase in activity here that goes beyond scanning codes, and it has me giddy with excitement to see where it goes. Poke’s Baker Tweet is a prime example of the physical Internet. Put simply, it’s a physical box located in the bakery that sends messages wirelessly to Twitter to let followers know what’s fresh. The guys who built it actually started a company called Breakfast who, from what I’m told, is all about creating experiences like this.
Another good example of this is Nike’s Chalkbot. A machine that took tweets and messages from real people and plotted them in chalk along a portion of the Tour de France.
I think we’re going to see some really innovative stuff this year, most of which will be connecting virtual stuff with real stuff. Last week, Andy Sandoz over at Work Club posted an interesting article that touched (sorry) on what it may be like if Facebook had a physical ‘Like’ button. I’d love to hear of more examples or thoughts on this.