Disrupting the Internet of things

Chris Speed, Maria Burke, Andrew Hudson-Smith, Angelina Karpovich, Simone O'Callaghan, Jon Rogers

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


This paper reflects on the innovative research methods of the Digital Economy funded TOTeM (Tales of Things and electronic Memory) project and its engagement with two primary sectors: high street charity retail, and museums. The interdisciplinary three-year project is concerned with the study of applications of personal and social memories in the emerging culture of the Internet of Things. In 2010 TOTeM launched its public tagging service 'Tales of Things' which is based on the use of two-dimensional barcodes (QR Codes) and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) technology to enable the capturing and sharing of stories and memories and linking of them to any object via read and writable tags. Since the launch of the web platform in 2010 (www.talesofthings.com) and its accompanying Android and iPhone applications, the technology has found a home through the disruption of two distinct sectors. The first was developed through a series of iterations with the UK based charity Oxfam in which Tales of Things technology was deployed in shops across the UK that used the 'write back' feature to allow donors of goods to leave stories on donated items. The second was across a series of museums including the National Museums of Scotland, Anstruther Fisheries Museum and the UCL Grant Museum in which the technology was used to explore methods of user engagement and the transmission of knowledge between the source, the curator and the museum visitor. This paper will briefly describe the interventions into the two sectors in order to identify implications of the research for the UK Digital Economy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event3rd Annual Digital Economy All Hands Conference: Digital futures 2012 - Aberdeen Exhibition & Conference Centre, Aberdeen, United Kingdom
Duration: 23 Oct 201225 Oct 2012
Conference number: 3


Conference3rd Annual Digital Economy All Hands Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • Internet of Things
  • Oxfam
  • Museums
  • Digital Humanities
  • Technology


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