Hands-Free Database Access from Vivino

BORDEAUX_2007_RED_WINEThere is a cool new app out of Denmark called Vivino, that besides being just plain useful, also offers a great working example of both mobile visual interaction with database content. Vivino lets you use your smartphone camera to take a picture of the label on any wine bottle, and have returned to you complete information about the wine. Yes, it’s a true hands-free database query.

The data can be used strictly for educational purposes, as a way to learn more about a particular wine. At the same time, its point-of-sale implications are huge.

The heart of the technology is image recognition software that can match the photograph of a wine label to Vivino’s standing database of over 450,000 wine label images.  And the database is not just for look-ups: if you like a wine, just flag it in the database with the push of a button, and the system remembers it for you.

Another feature, apparently still under development, is the use of your geo-location to identify nearby wine stores. And of course Vivino has the requisite social sharing features.

What’s also of interest to data publishers is that if Vivino can’t match a wine label, it manually researches it using its own research staff, and sends the information to the user once it makes a match. That has the triple benefit of engagement, enhancing user satisfaction and expanding the database.

Vivino is still in beta, but monetization options are plentiful. It’s worth noting that the wine database space is very crowded, but there doesn’t yet seem to be a dominant player. And if you picture yourself in a wine shop, you can see the innate appeal of being able to snap a picture and get a full profile on any bottle of wine. This is a truly powerful and productive use of mobile technology.

Vivino provides an eye-opening insight to all data publishers: sometimes you can make your existing dataset more valuable just by enhancing the ways users can access it.  This is doubly important in mobile applications, where large fingers and small keys rarely make for a satisfying user experience.

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