The idea is that those who work primarily in audio – musicians, bands, sound designers etc. – can now include images in their work, perhaps as part of a promotional campaign, flyer or as album art work. But also, given SoundCloud’s recent pivot to become a more mainstream audio sharing platform, ThingLink could be used to annotate or add voice notes or background sounds to any photograph in all sorts of use cases, such as a memorable family photograph, for example. And because the SoundCloud link is embedded into a ThingLink image, that audio interactivity travels with the image, meaning it can be shared on social networks.
Interestingly, ThingLink has gone through a number of pivots itself. Founded by design blogger Ulla-Maaria Engeström (wife of Jaiku co-founder Jyri Engestrom, who is also an adviser) the company started life by defining a new standard for identifying both virtual and physical objects and linking them to information on the Internet, and then evolved into a sort of social catalogue that enabled designers, brands, and consumers to identify and converse around products.
Nowadays, ThingLink is pitching itself as a tool for online publishers who want to add interactive images (via special tags) to their content and as a complementary ad network. The idea is that a blogger or website can use Thinglink to make the objects in their images clickable and to drive traffic from these images to e-commerce sites and other destinations.