Dishing Tech

Dishing Tech is a unique tech blog that offers news, how to's, tips, tweaks on pretty much anything tech related. We Dish out the latest news on gadgets and hardware. Provide Mac and iDevice reviews as well as provide tutorials on hacking, jailbreaking, internet security and visualisation.

15 January 2012

QR Codes Gaining Popularity

QR (Quick Response) codes are relatively known throughout the world especially in European and Asian countries. These codes are very easy to generate and to scan which is one of the main reasons I find them so appealing. They also do not require special barcode readers that most people do not have or need. So what you get is this code that looks like some sort of mind puzzle, unreadable without a computer or smartphone. Scan this code with the built-in camera, or upload the image. Then freely available software decodes and displays information. 

That information might be:
• Simple text
• Email address
• Geographic location
• Price
• Calander event
• Contact information / Vcards
• Phone Number
• WiFi Network
Check out Wikipedia for a bit of history and technical knowledge

Image 1: QREncoder is available in the App Store

Image 2: Play around with the colours also and error connection level, as well being able to post the QR code image on Facebook or Twitter

According to comScore there were 20 million in the US that scanned a QR code in one month alone so their use is quite common and there is marketing potential there.

Image 3: Retail and grocery audience on the rise

Conveniently Time Saving and Helpful
Supermarket chain Tesco in Korea created Tesco Homeplus Virtual Stores (Video) in subways and metro stations (Image 4) that made it convenient for workers during their commute to do their shopping at the same time. These scanned items would be added to their cart and delivered at home. It truly does bring the shopping to the shoppers. Combine QR codes with a webstore and it would allow people the flexability to do their shopping whenever and wherever they go.

Image 4: Yes, looks real but this is a virtual store on the train platform

The Bahn transit authority in Germany have introduced posters with QR codes that give commuters dynamic and upto date information on travel, connections, points of interest (POIs) and special promotions. They have also implemented the Near Field Communication (NFC) protocol on the posters making them probably the most advanced posters in the world. As a recently graduated university student who did his fair share of poster work, this is an excellent idea to direct viewers / readers to additional on the fly and take home information.

Make it a Competition
The fast food and supermarket chains have the widest reaching ability to increase the use of this technology. There are a few case studies going around, the best is when Mountain Dew and Taco Bell in the US created a promotion that allowed customers to scan QR codes on drink cups to get free music downloads. 

Image 5: Over 200,000 QR code scans for free music

Oh Google
Google identified the best 100,000 businesses in the U.S. through reviews and users' interactions. Each business received a special window sticker with a QR code that allowed customers and people walking to find additional online information (user reviews, hours of operation, add as favourite, give a star rating) through scanning the QR code. 

Image 6: Google Favourite Places (window shopfront decal sticker)

I created a QR code (Image 7) and posted it as my Facebook display pic, made a few posts in a page called Griffith Stalkerspace as bait and waited to see if anyone would catch on. I got caught hook, line and sinker. 

Image 7: Testing QR Codes out socially

Hell you can create your own QR code shirt if you are looking for attention. Or if you would like something more permanent, perhaps a QR code tattoo (Video) might tickle you fancy to show your devotion to your wife or whatever. Keep in mind that technology might not catch on or last forever so you might just regret that one. So in the words of a sleazy analogy: Like making a porno with Betamax instead of VHS. There has also been a proof of concept called TimeStation that uses QR codes to mark attendance and allows employers to track employees to punch in punch out (clock in clock out) times. Although, these cards would be easy to duplicate, I sense that it would not work. 

Image 8: At the front it should have a QR Code that says 'iSad' or 'I have sex on the first night'

There are plenty of QR code generators and readers on the market and on every platform you can think of. It is turning into the sudoku epidemic. So after much research here are the:
Best QR Code Generators & Scanners

iPhone / iPad / iTouch
Qrafter (Free)
Qrafter Pro ($2.99)
QR Reader (Free)
quiQR ($1.99)
Easy QR (Free)

QR Droid (Free)
Barcode Scanner (Free)
ScanLife Barcode & QR Reader (Free)
Barcode Generator / Reader (Free)
QuickMark Barcode Scanner (Free)

QR Code ($1.99)
QREncoder (Free)

QR Code Scanner Pro (Free)
Code Muncher QR Reader ($1.99)
MobileTag (Free)
I-nigma (Free)

Windows Mobile
QuickMark (Free)
OxoTag (Free)

Nokia (Ovi)
BeeTag QR Reader (Free)

Upcode (Free)

Upcode (Free)

Upcode (Free)

Online (Browser)
Kaywa (Free / Donatable) 
QRStuff (Free)
Online Decoder (Free)
Bar Capture (Free)
Facebook QR Codes (Free)
Firefox QR Codes (Free)
QR Code Google Chrome Plug-in Extension (Free)

Web / Desktop Publishing QR Code Plugins
Wordpress QR Code Plug-In (Free)
InDesign QR Code Plug-In (Free)


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