Now that this technology is beginning to get some foothold in the UK it's time to start thinking about QR Code applications and uses.
QR Codes are simply a quick and efficient 'tell me more' mechanism. You see an advert, product or some other tangible item you're interested in and normally have to look up more information on a search engine when you return home. You pull out the hastily scribbled bit of paper from your pocket with a few keywords noted down and spend 30 minutes trying to get the phrase right in order to hit on the right web site. QR Codes remove all this hastle by giving you instant access to more information on that item on the shelf in front of you, the online bus timetable at the bus stop your standing in or that movie poster on the billboard across the road at that exact moment.
We are heading into a mobile revolution where mobile phones will become the main information access source. With over 3 billion mobile phones in the world today the untapped potential of these one-time "for emergencies only accessory" is enormous. Microsoft ruled in the PC era when it came to the PC desktop and Google, along with a few others, are aiming to take the same position with mobile devices.
Google, along with 30 other technology and mobile companies (excluding Nokia) have formed the open handset alliance to "accelerate innovation in mobile and offer consumers a richer, less expensive and better mobile experience.". The start of this innovation has kicked off in the form of an application called Android which may give the iPhone a run for it's money. The android software development kit is freely available to download by anyone interested in developing applications for the platform and is a great move before the first Android handset is commercially available.
Google QR Code reader Zxing is available now from Google and, with one of the aims for a less expensive mobile experience, the future seems very bright indeed for QR codes.
Current mainstream usage
The majority of QR Codes are currently used for either E-marketing or E-info. Companies place the code next to their product as an easy convenience for you. You're interested, you scan it and get redirected to a web page where you can digest the product details. QR Codes have a lot more to offer than just simply functioning as a "tell me more" mechanism. Thought leaders, who are a vital driver of business success, are embracing QR code technology in ever innovative ways :-
These applications have started to appear where you simply purchase your tickets online, receive a QR Code on your mobile phone, which is then scanned when you show up at your event. No more looking under the bed for those two Bon Jovi tickets you purchased last month for the show tonight. if you delete your E-ticket from your phone by mistake just text the the support line to receive a copy. Once the QR code is scanned at the counter it's marked as used. Japan airlines are using a QR Code scanner at the ticketing gate and Heathrow express train from London's Paddington to Heathrow now also employ e-ticketing.
R kill was first seen in Barcelona shopping centre back in January 2008. Before the game begins the players decide a scenario, a modality and a meeting point. Each player has a QR Code affixed to his or her back which contains their name and telephone number. Instead of a projectile full of paint heading their way a mobile phone is pointed at the QR code, which sends an SMS 'your dead' message to the recipient. Various rules must be followed, such as no covering the QR Code, once you're SMS'd you have to leave the same (No, did I or didn't I scenario here, if the SMS is in your sent box, you got the guy), no one can assist you kill the enemy but you can hire spies as well as other rules.
For those of you who have indulged in a game of paintball I'm sure you'll agree this variation is much less painful.
Loyalty points system
Coca Cola are using QR Codes with Cmode enabled drinks vending machines to allow Japanese customers to redeem collected loyalty points for free drinks.
Dynamic QR codes (QRMe Code) where the URL is stored on the main web server and not encapsulated within the actual QR Code itself offers a very flexible approach.
The URL is dynamic and can be changed to suit the advertising campaign or even the weather. The same QR code on an advertisement billboard could be scanned one week to point to a web page which contains a clue. The same QR code could then point to successive web pages, revealing more clues over the course of a media campaign.
If your company, www.PreparedForAnyDay.com, mainly retails clothing and accessories for sunny days and the heavens open you could quickly switch your dynamic QR code to your rainy day section of your website so, instead of T-shirts and sunglasses greeting your potential customer, you'll have wellies and raincoats on your landing page. Dynamic QR codes also have the advantage of analysing valuable feedback about where and when the QR Code was scanned, enabling real time geographical analysis to be performed.
Sit down for 30 minutes and think of what this technology could be applied to and you'll be amazed.