In any gathering of people there is a subtle and complex web of physical interactions that take place. These gestures simultaneously create and maintain a virtual space of connections and relationships that, until the advent of social networking technology, existed only for those people involved. Advanced mobile, social, and web technology now allows the physical and virtual worlds to seamlessly merge. The MIT Mobile Experience Lab, in collaboration with Pitti Uomo is exploring these possibilities in their Pitti.mobi research project.
In Florence, Italy, 40,000 people and more than 800 exhibitors gather for three days each year to share and learn about the latest advances in fashion. Pitti and the Mobile Experience Lab developed two strategies for enhancing the community aspect of this group: pitti.mobi and the Cloud. During the conference, these two experiences, one pragmatic, one emotional, allow people to maintain connections and memories beyond the three days.
The pitti.mobi mobile application turns each person’s mobile device into a useful and pragmatic tool. Part business card, part notebook, part address book, the phone can be used to exchange information with new people and gather details about items of interest. A system of QR codes, visual tags recognizable by a cell-phone’s camera, allows an easy and intuitive way to capture details about products. A personalized website collates and organizes all of this information, making recommendations for who to meet and what to see as the conference progresses.