Whilst the transmission of smell is currently impossible, instructing a device to release an odour which is stored inside it has become a reality. The past few weeks has seen a fair bit of buzz around the oPhone and the oSnap messaging app it works with. The oPhone itself is a wonderful, simple concept: a telephone that releases aromas, which are linked to photos tagged by the sender. The first set of aromas that can be delivered are food and coffee related.

Tagging a picture with aromas to be delivered alongside the image.

oPhone is the brainchild of David Edwards and his students, who set up Vapor Communications to launch the product via their Indiegogo campaign. The press release says that their intention is to “bring scent messaging to mobile phone users wherever aroma matters, for health and memory, self-expression and entertainment, travel and the marketing of aromatic content online.”

Marketing of aromatic content online? Colour me intrigued: what lies in the the future applications of the oPhone – will brands be able to deliver scented messages to their fans? Whilst the immediate application is obvious in the food and drinks industry, wouldn’t it be incredible if the capsule mechanisms could contain various raw materials and release them in the appropriate concentrations to create the scent of a new fragrance launch – sending a scent message along with a snap of the product to your customer database before anyone else? Dropping them a gentle reminder of their fragrance to encourage repeat purchase? Having the scent itself as a touchpoint will be much more effective than a straightforward email.

The offline applications are also an exciting prospect. Could stores that already use scent delivery systems utilise this technology to change the scent to match weather conditions and season?

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