Saturday, January 16, 2010


One of the latest apps for mobile phone users is QR. These are 2D barcodes for real people. It works like this. Let’s say you’re walking along a sidewalk and someone hands you a flyer. Glancing down you notice a square logo type barcode placed neatly within the design. Immediately you take a photograph of the bar code with your mobile phone set to Beetag and the photo becomes a link to a website, or contact information. Your mobile browser takes you directly to the linked content — jumping you from printed content to online content.

You might be asking yourself, who would bother to do that? Well the short answer is – people already do, lots of them in fact. In Japan, for example, QR codes have become part of everyday life, available on everything from business cards, id cards, magazines, newspapers, flyers, posters, stickers, food products,puzzles, web sites, billboards, more billboards, CDs, confectionary delights, calling a cab, vending machines, coffee cups, advertisements, and tickets. All these little codes eagerly await — ready to link people to content that matters to them — mobile sites, profiles, videos, podcasts, products and other little pieces of content (think ringtones and wallpapers). Individuals also have joined in on the opportunity as publishers themselves — printing codes on stickers, placing them on their web sites or blogs, even walking around with cute little stampers to easily affix codes practically anywhere for any reason. As such, QR Codes have become the door to the mobile Internet for the average mobile user.

Much like other mobile technology, such as SMS, it typically takes a while for the US market to embrace new mobile technology, but once it does we quickly match the usage seen in other parts of the world. I believe that will happen with bar codes as well. Already I see the signs…

See what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky?

Here the not so subtle placement in a print ad.

Did you scan the first barcode in the story? I might have t-shirts or mugs done up...oooooh, maybe a tattoo.