Ad Students Aim to Bring the Library to Commuters with NFC Technology
New York City’s underground transit system may be the final digital frontier: on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA)’s hundreds of miles of subterranean track, Internet access is not available. But a speculative ad campaign has suggested that a Wi-Fi-free digital information exchange on the subway is possible—and could boost library readership.
The one minute “Underground Library” commercial from students at the Miami Ad School promotes an as-yet nonexistent library program which would allow smartphone users to download book extracts from the New York Public Library (NYPL) during their commutes. The ad, which can be viewed online at video-sharing service Vimeo, shows subway passengers scanning an NYPL “smart poster” with their smartphones to access the first 10 pages of a current bestseller—no Wi-Fi access required. The information transfer process, known as Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, uses radio to communicate. “The data is stored in a poster in a tag containing RFID [radio-frequency identification] technology,” explains Miami Ad School student and “Underground Library” art director Keri Tan. “Subway passengers just have to hold their phones close enough to the tag for the data to transfer.” Upon exiting the subway, commuters’ devices would alert them to the location of nearby branch libraries.