Research: All About QR Codes and 2D Barcodes

on 2009, Blog, Portfolio, ToolsJuly 30th

Extensive research on what Makes “QR Codes”, “2D Barcodes” and “Augmented Reality” so Great for Marketing and who is using it now.

What Makes “QR Codes”, “2D Barcodes” and “Augmented Reality” so Great for Marketing?

Table of Contents:


How can 2D Barcodes Help Promote Brands and People?

2D Barcodes will change Marketing and Advertising by making it all interactive, including print, outdoor and digital advertising channels. Also known as QR Images” or “QR Codes (the initials QR stand for Quick Response), all you have to do is take a picture of the QR Image with your mobile phone and it will automatically take you to a mobile webpage with all the information you need. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code

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The concept is simple and starts with the understanding that everything is going mobile. It is just too convenient to access and store information on the go with your mobile smartphone. Suddenly living in the moment has become more meaningful than ever. (Seriously, are we living in the future yet?)

Check out this 2 minute, mtv-style/d commercial presentation and glean the potential with me…


http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2438329353183784900&hl=en

Print advertising is lovely on the eyes and still absolutely necessary, but is hardly interactive and worse yet – hard to analyze anything but “impressions”. I hate analyzing impressions – it’s necessary but can be either depressing or confusing unless you have a lot of money and the ability to trust your gut and stick with the decision until the end.

Advertising has become more and more interactive online but how can you ever really get that same interaction with a television or print ad? URL links to webpages can be hard to read and/or remember while mobile short codes (text BRATS to 30364) can be time consuming when rushing to your next train or event. With QR Codes, mobile smartphone users are able to easily capture all the information they need – and interact with this information immediately – by taking a picture of the QR Image Code with their mobile phone as they walk by the advertisement and letting the application do the rest. Why not? It can always be saved for later access.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GOgyC8liCfg&feature=player_embedded

 

Who is the QR Image Code Audience?

This year (2009), 89% of new mobile phones shipped to the U.S. will have cameras, according to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. Jagtag CEO Dudley Fitzpatrick envisions.

Morgan Stanlely recently published great research on July 10th, 2009 about How Teenagers Consume Media and even though it was written by a European 15 year old, i feel it is also a great representation of the US teen also.

Matthew Robson points out that “Teenagers are consuming more media, it is in entirely different ways and most are not prepared to pay for it since as a rule, teenagers have phones on pay as you go.”

They resent intrusive advertising on billboards, TV and the Internet. They are happy to chase content and music across platforms and devices (iPods, mobiles, streaming sites). Print media (newspapers, directories) are viewed as irrelevant but events (cinema, concerts etc.) remain popular and one of the few beneficiaries of payment. The convergence of gaming, TV, mobile and Internet is accelerating with huge implications for pay-TV.

For mobiles, price is key … Mid-range feature phones still dominate … High-end smartphones are desirable but too expensive … Texting is still key and use of new data services limited due to cost. Wi-Fi is more popular than 3G.

I probably don’t need to go on after such strong statements, but there is still so much potential with QR Codes and communication is key. What appears to be the scariest part for marketers is the different comparison of platforms and functionality: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_development. Most who have tried to find their way around a town that speaks a different language will tell you that it is hard to find your way around. Some will tell you they don’t mind – but most won’t.

Unfortunately, statistics show that we’re so close but may still not be completely there yet. According to a great article found on TheMobiBlog.net:

Analysts and Jagtag competitors agree that for 2-D barcodes to gain any meaningful traction, the code reader must come preloaded on cellphones — and only the wireless carriers can make happen, as they dictate the specs to handset makers. The campaign netted a 52% redemption rate with about 4,000 scans, roughly 1% of the total target student population.

In another quote taken from BrandRepublic.asia, the Marketing & Communications Newspaper for Asia-Pacific,

“Even if a single standard vendor of QR reader technology could be embedded onto all handsets, there would likely be a period of two years before enough of the population would upgrade their phones and the technology would achieve a high enough penetration to use the technology effectively,” says Brian Stoller, partner of invention at Mindshare Asia-Pacific,. “Convincing people to pay for the bandwidth to download the reader just so they can read advertising is a real challenge.”

 

Who uses a Smartphone?

Market Share:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mobile_platform

* Symbian OS from Symbian Ltd. (46.6% Market Share Sales Q3 2008 [6])
* iPhone OS from Apple Inc. (17.3% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* BlackBerry OS from RIM (15.2% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* Windows Mobile from Microsoft (13.6% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* Linux operating system (5.1% Market Share Sales Q3 2008)
* Palm OS developed by PalmSource (now a subsidiary of ACCESS)
* Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless (BREW)
* Android [22] promoted by Open Handset Alliance [23]and licensed by Google[24] (Released 22 Oct 2008) The Open Handset Alliance’s Android is a recent smart phone addition touted by Google and T-Mobile (which launched the G1 phone on October 22, 2008). The OHA hopes Android will gain 4% market share by year’s end.[5]

Market_share_of_mobile_os_s_2008

 

What are the Different Types of 2D Barcodes?

According to Wikipedia and Kaywa who created the below graphic, there are four types of 2D Barcodes: QR-Code and Datamatrix, Maxi Code & PDF 417. From my research, these are the most popular and have the furthest reach, but host the most limitations and vulnerability.

4-Types-Of-2D-Barcodes
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntho/3712484792/sizes/o/in/photostream/

However, according to http://www.adams1.com/stack.html there are many more variations. Further research continues to find new variations everyday like the unique QR Code used by Doritos below.

Recently Gizmodo published an online article which describes the newest barcode titled The Barcode Update You Never Asked For, But Still Need. As this video describes in more detail, the code is about the size of a small dot and basically is comprised of multiple, micro-inscribed datamatrix codes that an out of focus camera can capture and read.

The ability to inscribe and utilize multiple datamatrixx codes as a small dot definitely opens up more possibilities and is prettier on the eyes, but the need for a regular, out-of-focus camera will produce some limitations.

Again, it seems like the possibilities are endless and the the deeper I swim the bigger the ocean seems. Even Louis Vuitton has his own designer 2D Barcode!

 

What is the Standard 2D Barcode Size?

According to Microsoft, 1.25 x 125 is standard size for datamatrix and qr codes.


Standard sizes of QR Code and 2D Barcode

 

What are the Different QR Readers?

QR Code Readers are mobile applications (usually down-loadable right from your mobile device) which allow your smart-phone’s camera to capture and utilize the 2D Barcode to take you on an interactive journey with the brand.

Unfortunately it appears different readers read different code, so you may want to read this article first from 2d Code -> QR code and two dimensional bar codes, news, views and analysis at http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-readers/ or Mobile-Barcodes.com at http://www.mobile-barcodes.com/qr-code-software/.

UPCODE, ScanLife, BeeTagg, Kaywa & 3GVision (i-nigma reader) are all very popular readers. 3GVision (i-nigma) is pre-installed by all of Japan’s major mobile manufacturers while as recently reported in an article by UPCODE founder

“Most notable is how UPCODE’s technology is installed in every mobile phone produced by Nokia, the company with more than 40% share of the mobile phone manufacture and sales market, as well as the OS (symbian) market.”

Recently, I have been using ixMAT on my G1 Android for it’s ability to also scan regular, 1D barcodes and compare product prices on the internet. Unfortunately, Microsoft Tag‘s reader is not yet available for the G1 Android.

* KAYWA Reader
* ScanLife
* Nokia Reader
* i-nigma Reader
* Active Print
* UpCode
* QuickMark
* SnapMaze
* BeeTagg
* Microsoft Tag
* ixMAT (also scans regular barcodes and compares prices)

More specific technical information on individual QR Readers can be found at qrme.co.uk

 

What are the Possibilities?

If you’re really talented the design of QR makes it possible to incorporate eye-catching images of logos, characters, or photos into QR code, without losing any information of the code. Although semi-dependedant on a variable of phones, developers can help develop SDK’s and control even more possibilities.

A user can be linked to your VCard, Social Network, Campaign Site, Website, Mobile Video, Advergame, Coupon, Tutorial, Scavenger Hunt, Shopping – even a lottery 2D Barcode or Augmented Reality. The possibilities appear endless…

 

What is Augmented Reality?

According to Wikipedia, Augmented Reality is defined as the following.

Augmented Reality is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time.

I feel it is imperative to understand what Augmented Reality is and why we, as a techno-global community, need to embrace the possibilities. Through deductive reasoning I’ve been able to conclude the following about Augmented Reality by Example.

The more adventurous brands have been using QR Codes to produce Augmented Reality in the form of “bonus” content. Goodby, Silverstein and Partners recently produced a campaign for Doritos new flavor, Late Night Taco with Blink 182 and Big Boi. Using a QR Code on the back of a Doritos bag a user could “Augment Reality” and gain access to bonus content.

Since I was knee deep in this type of research – the curiousity of interacting with taco flavored chip to produce a musical experience sounded too delicious to resist … so my girlfriend got it for me. :)

 

How is AR used with QR Codes?

More like a “choose your own adventure” game than a website (almost!), the interactive process for most users will most likely go similarly to the following…

    • 1. (Get someone to) Buy a bag of new Doritos Late Night chips
    • 2. Visit http://www.doritoslatenight.com
      • 2.5 Update to Flash 10.
    • 3. Give Doritos permision to access your webcam. (you may be recorded!)
    • 4. Choose to interact with Blink 182 or Big Boi.
    • 5. Read the on screen directions since this is a new experience.
    • 6. Hold the bag in front of the webcam until you find the sweet spot.
    • 7. Struggle to look around the bag you’re trying to move around in front of the webcam while keeping the creases out so you can watch Big Boi or Blink 182 play a song in the Doritos Bag you’re holding
    • 8. Repeat steps 4-8 again because “you know you can do it better”
    • 9. Watch bonus Big Boi “behind the scenes content
      -or-

    • 9. Enter a sweepstakes to win Blink 182 tickets
    • 10. …Wait, I see what’s going on here…

…It’s Another Way to Capture My Contact Information!! Mwuahaha those “clever marketers”. Just like those innovative Doritos Collisions which features two Doritos flavors in one bag – they know the delicious combinations I like.

Many more people have a webcam and know how to use it better than a QR Code reader they have to install on their phone (40% of Facebook Videos are Webcam Uploads), but it can still be a tough crowd and I wonder how patient people will be with the technology if abused. Check out my failed attempt at Doritos Late Night Augmented Reality Experience.

[playlist id=3]

In order to see the Augmented Reality in the Doritos campaign the computer needs to have a web cam with a high-speed internet connection (no dial up) with Adobe Flash 10 installed and javascript enabled (unless anyone knows a different way?). Bright, indirect, ambient lighting is also recommended. In Doritos case, you are also required to have x-ray vision and be an expert at keeping a QR code on a bag from wrinkling- HA!

I’m just giving Doritos a hard time I love the overall contribution you’re trying to create for your Doritos fans (me) who also likes rap music (me) or rock music (me), reviewing digital (me) interactive (me) marketing (me) online (me) campaign (me) websites (me) and entering sweepstakes (me) to win (me) free stuff (me) ;) You shot me 11 times, Doritos. 12 if you count the behind-the-scenes Blink 182 videos about how Doritos filmed the “Augmented” Blink 182 Experience on Youtube.

 

How is AR useful?

Some are starting to say that Augmented Reality has already “jumped the shark”. In their defense, if virtual magicians have already started using AR in their acts, it’s a pretty good sign.

Most Augmented Reality I’ve personally seen today has not been very useful in everyday life, but nonetheless the best and most useful Augmented Reality is yet to come. BMW is working with Augmented Reality that will empower the anyone to become a BMW mechanic, and many more companies are working with equally invigorating concepts. I guess we will just have to wait a little l o n g e r…

…sigh…

 

How can I create AR?

There are probably a lot of different ways actually and the development can get pretty intense the more complicated you try to make things. I’ve always agree that you have to learn how to walk before you think about running, so the best, most useful form I’ve found would be to create your own Augmented Reality Buisiness card. Created by Jonas Jäger at Toxin Labs, has created a very informative video and website that shows How to create an Augmented Reality Business card (XML File). There are plans to release an Augmented Reality Source Download soon.

Augmented Business Card from jonas on Vimeo.

In a nutshell, how does it work?

According to the developer Jonas Jäger;

  1. The author creates a presentation, using a frontend tool (a download version is in development at the moment). He can import various media like images, video clips and 3D-models. The application exports this presentation as a XML file.
  2. This XML file is uploaded to a webserver, together with all the necessary assets.
  3. From the URL of the XML presentation you generate a QR-Code. This unique QR-Code will lead the flash application to the right presentation, so that the application itself can stay the same and can be used by everyone…nobody has to compile his own version of the application to share his augmented business card.
  4. Now you print the QR-Code on the back side of your business card, together with the AR-marker.

  5. The person who you gave your card to can now start the application on a website (since it is developed in flash you can run it in any browser) or download it to his computer as an executable file. The application could also be converted to an AIR-Application.

The application was developed using FLARtoolkit, Papervision 3D, FLARmanager and the Ribbit API. There was no CGI or postprocessing involved and the real application is shown in the video clip above. The source-code will be released under the Creative Commons license.

 

Where can I Create a 2D Barcode to Promote ME?!

BEGGINER:

The simplest, easiest approach would be to google and use the most popular QR Code or 2D Barcode Generator.

Here are some other easy-to-use 2D Barcode Generators that can be found online at 2D Codes here: http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-generators

    BeQRious
    Basic but can save as a pdf.

    i-nigma
    Very fast loading barcode. Foreign language versions available in Español, Português and Italiano.

    Invx
    One size but generates a QR Code and a Datamarix Code simultaniously.

    Jaxo
    Select encoding mode, multiple colors and upload background graphic.

    Kaywa
    Generates small, medium, large and extra-large sizes.

    Mofuse
    Basic.

    Nokia
    Includes full VCARD implementation.

    QR Stuff
    One size and will do only a partial VCARD format.

    Raco
    Can specify error correction levels.

    SnapMaze
    One size but choice of six colors.

    Snappr
    Includes full VCARD implementation.

    Unfortunately Snappr was shut down on October 23rd 2009.

    Winksite
    PNG and JPG in standard sizes.

    ZXing
    Includes encoding in MECARD format.

 

INTERMEDIATE:

Unfortunately Snappr was shut down on October 23rd 2009.

For most average users looking for more, Snappr.net has recently released their public beta version which gives a lot more options. Unlike Microsoft Tag (explained in Advanced), I do not foresee Snappr becoming a paid service.

1. Register for an account at Snappr
2. Verify your account from your email inbox
3. Click on “Create Code”
4. There are several options but the easiest test will be to create a CLASSIC > VCard CODE to input your contact information as a Signature. If you already know your preferred social site, the social code creator is a cool way to promote your social networks both online and off. Snappr currently integrates with 24 networks and some on the list are pretty unique at most. (Can’t wait for it to integrate with Posterous!)


    1. Adocu
    2. AdultFriendFinder
    3. Blogger
    4. Chi.mp
    5. digg
    6. Facebook
    7. Flickr
    8. Flixter
    9. FriendFeed
    10. HelloTxt
    11. hi5
    12. ICQ
    13. Jaiku
    14. Myspace
    15. Orkut
    16. Schuler VZ
    17. Slashdot
    18. StudiVZ
    19. Tumblr
    20. Twitter
    21. Vimeo
    22. Wordpress
    23. Xing
    24. Youtube

With Snappr, not only can you create free 2D barcodes for your social networks, v-cards or websites – you can also store the informations of the 2D Barcode campaigns you come across. Snappr.mobi also helps save shoppers money while in the store. In Snappr’s own words (found here http://www.snappr.net/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&Itemid=38&lang=en) …

When you use Snappr.net you can get product details, ratings and more immediately and decide if you should buy a product or not. Additionally you can see what you would pay for this product at internet-sites like Amazon, Shopzilla and others. The best price and the most recent reviews are now really only one quick look away!If you are looking for information to a specific product just browse to http://snappr.mobi from your mobile device and enter the complete barcode-number into the search field. Snappr then finds all the information for this product and presents it to you, perfectly tailored for your device.

Super geeky and super cool, this video will teach you how to create your own, personal 2d barcode and download the pdf so you can have the file on hand to use in all your flyers from the Snappr website.


http://www.viddler.com/explore/dollen/videos/6/

Additionally, after you create an account at http://Snappr.net you can easily store and access all of your favorite 2D barcode history from your Snappr account – just log in with your mobile device and snapp some Codes at snappr.mobi to create your code history.

Snappr is also currently testing professional accounts in a closed beta roll-out. There is also a Campaign Feature that is only available for users with a pro account.


Unfortunately Snappr was shut down on October 23rd 2009.

 

ADVANCED:

Custom Microsoft Tag claims to be the next evolution of machine readable codes, where “branding and design can be incorporated directly into the barcode itself.” Basically, Microsoft has foreseen the potential and it’s limitations, and sought out a team of developers to come up with a better solution to dominate an untapped market. Ingenius(?) Their solution became Microsoft tag, a 2D customizable barcode strategy. The sophisticated technology powering Microsoft Tag High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs), was invented by Microsoft Research (I believe to be lead by the Director of Engineering, Gavin Jancke).

Since it is Microsoft I feel confident it will both do ok and turn into a paid model. However, the Microsoft Tag reader is still not available on a lot of popular smartphones (like my G1 Android). Apple where are your QR codes? :( Nonetheless, Microsoft Tag is no doubt a cooler alternative to the boring black and white QR Image.

MicrosoftTag-vs-2d
http://www.flickr.com/photos/ntho/3712485176/sizes/o/in/photostream/

In their frequently asked questions Microsoft Tag also states the following;

During the beta period, commercial use of Microsoft Tag, including generating, using, and receiving consumer analytics data will be provided at no cost. We entered our Beta phase on January 7, 2009. We will learn and make updates to the solution based on customer feedback and our insights. If we decide to charge for some uses of Microsoft Tag, any Tags that are already in use will continue to work for at least two more years.

Another important note is Microsoft Tag’s Publisher Guidelines and most specfically, “Provide instructions for downloading the reader along with the Tag”.

With traditional 2D Barcodes, you have to accept the industrial look of the code on your materials. With Microsoft Custom Tags the code can be integrated into the look and form of the messaging itself. Plus, all existing mobile Tag Readers are able to scan and decode these codes which is great, but be careful – you don’t want to confuse your audience into thinking that it’s something unusual like “art”.

Since the whole QR Code medium is still so new, I feel it will be most effective to hold your audience’s hand during the learning process and stick to the basics. The more they see it as “art” – the less your audience will understand what an interactive QR Code is really capable of.

However, any experienced marketer will tell you that the best news is in the analytics, and Microsoft Tag tracks these numbers. In the Report Center you can begin tracking the performance of your categories and tags by generating reports in all directions to help compare the total number of daily scans for different tags in different categories.

From your smartphone’s mobile browser, you can download Microsoft tag reader at http://gettag.mobi, but unfornately not if you’re a Android G1 user. As of 7/27/2009 it is still “coming soon”…

A more recent alternative I’ve come across is QReateBuzz, a European .co.uk company that claims to be a full service solution for the realization of mobile marketing campaigns using QR Codes. The online application consists of a QR Code generator, a management tool for the codes and an analytics software for the measurement of the reach and success of campaigns.

 

PROFESSIONAL:

I love conversations, especially about stuff like this. If you need a second opinion or some further advice you can always feel free to contact me for free a free consultation.

USA Today’s article New ’2D barcodes’ puts info at the tip of your camera phone describes how Sears, in conjuction with vendor ScanBuy, became the first U.S. retailer to begin a public trial in December, 2007. Check out some examples by ScanLife of brand’s using 2D Barcodes and their respective interactive 2D Barcode campaigns yourself at http://www.scanlife.com/us/examples.html.

Every big agency will tell you “they do mobile” and the reality is that one way or another, they’ve probably had more experience than you … outsourcing to free-lancers and smaller, niche agencies. Goodby, Silverstein & Partners created the Blink 182 & Big Boi “Late Night Taco” Augmented Reality described above, but they are not the only ones dabbling with QR Codes. Below is just a sample list of some of the different 2D Barcode campaigns taking place around the world.

    USA:

    Brand: Doritos
    Agency: Goodby, Silverstein & Partners
    Campaign: Late Night Tacos had a 2D Barcode on each back that when accessed online, used augmented reality to show a virtual concert of Big Boi or Blink 182, in addition to exclusive content and a chance to see Blink 182 play live in concert.

    Brand: Dupont
    Agency: Modavox, Inc., Scanbuy, Inc. and Augme Mobile
    Campaign: Promote Mobile Technologies in the Packaging Industry

    Brand: Nike, Inc.
    Agency: Taow Productions and Jagtag
    Campaign: Access to Exclusive Nike content at Mountain Dew Events

    Brand: CitySearch & Discovery Communications
    Agency: Scanbuy, Inc.
    Campaign: EZcodes (2D barcodes) on bus shelters and kiosks which linked to mobile audio tours for that specific neighborhood.

    SPAIN:

    Brand: Orange, Telefónica Móviles, and Vodafone,
    Agency: Scanbuy, Inc.
    Campaign: An interoperable 2D (two-dimensional) barcode system for Orange, Telefónica Móviles, and Vodafone, who together provide wireless services to 98 percent of Spain.

    JAPAN:

    Brand: Louis Vuitton, Coca-Cola
    Agency: SETJapan
    Campaign: Louis Vuitton Fashion, Coca-Cola Vending Machines
    *Designer: Takashi Murakami

    EUROPE:

    Brand: Ford
    Agency: Wunderman London
    Campaign: 3D interactive mobile marketing campaign for its new Ford Ka model.

    UNITED KINGDOM:

    Brand: Pepsi
    Agency: UpCode Solutions
    Campaign: James Bond; Quantum Solace, Pepsi Max & Exclusive Content

    Brand: Nestle Nescafe
    Agency: UpCode Solutions
    Campaign: The Nestle Alien campaign mobilizes from one location to the other, scanning 2D codes on billboards, in print and on TV, for a chance to win P.100,000 cash and prizes.

    Brand: Volvo
    Agency: HH&S
    Campaign: The ads offer a shortcode to text in to in order to receive a link to download a QR Code reader application. The consumer then captures the QR Code using the app, and receives a link which routes them via the Eyeblaster server to the official Volvo Ocean Race mobile site. There, they were presented with live updates, race news and images illustrating how the race, which finished at the end of June, was progressing.

    GERMANY:

    Brand: Lego
    Agency: Lukas Lindemann Rosinski
    Campaign: Large QR Codes made from Lego bricks were put on display with the codes resolving to the toy store’s Lego brick boxes and order pages.

Lukas Lindemann Rosinski just won an award at the 2009 Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival with their interactive direct campaign for Germany’s biggest online toy store.

Not every brand needs an over-the-top QR Marketing campaign since the tecnology is so new, just having a 2D Barcode will make your brand appear innovative. With a list that includes E! Online and Access Hollywood among others, check out all of these well-known “entertainment” and/or “news” magazines who are using simple QR Codes as an informative resource.

 

Why should I use 2D Barcodes?

In an interview about Layar, a new Augmented Technology due soon for Android…

…even the simple offerings included within Layar are likely to prove extremely useful. The app can be configured to display one of several layers of data on the screen–anything from home-buying data to jobs to health care to the nearest bars, ATMs and hotels. In the home-buying mode, it’ll tell you if any of the houses on the street you’re looking at is for sale along with a bunch of data. And if you’re really interested, it’ll even connect you directly to the realtor…

Unfortunately the North American market for QR Codes is wide open with new competition continuing to develop their own proprietary QR Codes and Readers every day, further complicating the industrial advancement. Still, it’s coming soon (if not here already). I’m happy to report Fast Company has reported that Layar: Augmented Reality Arriving for Android Phones, iPhone Soon.

Nonetheless, if Japan’s acceptance is any indication of how other cultures like the US would receive the technology, I think we’re in good shape. Anonymous said…

It was in Japan back in 2002, that the method of accesing the mobile internet changed dramatically. Network operators started distributing mobile phones with a 2D barcode reader, that allowed the user to scan a URL encoded intoa 2D barcode and instantly launch to the mobile internet. 3GVision (flagship product i-nigma) was a major factor in this mobile revolution, providing the imaging technology to make this process a reality. Since then, mobile web access by scanning QR codes has contributed significantly to the success of mobile data services and revenues. 3GVision’s reader is now installed on more than 80% of Japanese handsets, becoming the de-facto standard for mobile code reading.
http://dsinsights.blogspot.com/2009/06/2d-barcodes-and-digital-signage-part-ii.html

Now we all know how slow the US can be sometimes so it’s still going to take a little while for American users -OR- brands to catch on. Phones without 3G (or 4G for those that are lucky enough) can make it painfully slow to use the internet on your phone without it. 2d barcodes have been here for a couple years now and are still mostly used for treasure hunt’s and targeting the SUPER savvy. (Snappr.net was nominated for 2008 Crunchie’s “Best Mobile” & “Best Bootstrapped Startup of 2008″ but unfortunately didn’t see it on the finalist list this time around, even though “This year, 89% of new mobile phones shipped to the U.S. will have cameras, according to InfoTrends/CAP Ventures. Jagtag CEO Dudley Fitzpatrick envisions )

I also predict it’s going to be harder to take a picture of this barcode without stopping and ensure you took a picture straight enough to read the 2D barcode. As I’ve witnessed personally from the Doritos Late Night Tacos campaign, it can be just as hard to understand what you’re supposed to do as it is to get the webcam to read the barcode!

I’m concerned which “marketers” will find the best way to spam you or how easy it would be to send viruses (although I’ve read security encryption is possible, I’m waiting for people to stick innappropriate barcodes over unsuspecting brand campaigns – errr it was bound to happen anyways). As 2d barcodes continue to gain popularity overseas, we will just both have to wait and see…

There’s also various other limitations that affect results, such as the iPhone’s lack of auto-zoom or a sunlights glare. Microsoft has listed some good tips for use in their “Mobile Tagging Publisher Guidelines” section of their website: http://www.microsoft.com/tag/content/why/guidelines.aspx

 

General Tips & Tricks:

Keep it simple, Keep it simple, Don’t overdue it. At this stage of the game – less is more.

 

Create A Mobile Webpage:

Definitely use a mobile webpage to display your QR Code content since every single person will be first accessing this content via their phone. If you’re a WordPress user, I’ve recently highlighted the four The Best WordPress Plugins to Make Your Blog Mobile-Friendly.

For those savvy enough to create a mobile site on their own, I recommend reviewing eHow’s article on how to Create A Mobile Webpage. If this is a little bit too technical for you, there are many easier alternatives such as the following:

  1. Free Mobile Website Builder
  2. dotMOBI
  3. Zinadoo
  4. mtld dotMOBI
  5. BuildMyMobi($2/month)
  6. MoFuse($39-199/month)

 

Technical Requirements:

Doritos new flavor, Late Night Taco Campaign gave the following advice on “Reflections, Shadows & Minimums…”

  1. General Guidelines: Strong reflections or shadows on a Tag will reduce scanning performance. If possible avoid scenarios where bright reflections or sharp shadows fall across the tag.
  2. Use Behind Glass: Tags will normally be readable when displayed behind glass, as in the window of a store, or behind a display face. However, try to avoid situations where direct sunlight or bright lighting causes strong reflections on the glass.
  3. Vertical Display: Displaying tags vertically reduces the possibility of the camera phone itself displaying a shadow across the tag. This is most important when there is very bright overhead lighting.
  4. Adequate Lighting: Tags will be hard to read in dark conditions such as a nightclub or candlelit restaurant.
  5. Minimum Size: Normal 5 line Tags must be printed or displayed at a size of at least 3/4″ x 3/4″. Black and White Tags must be printed at least 7/8″ x 7/8″. Minimum size includes the white space around the Tag. These minimum sizes have proven to work well with the entire range of camera phones despite being able to work at much smaller sizes on phones with better lenses.
  6. MicroTag-Examples

  7. Size Recommendations: When camera phones can not get close to your Tag, such as on a billboard, you must print Tags at a larger size. A general rule of thumb is for the width and height of a Tag to be at least 1” for every 1’ that a user must stand away from the tag.
  8. Display Recommendations: On a display, the Tag should be at least 54 pixels across.
  9.  

    When will there be More 2D Barcode Help Available?

    Do you have time to review more links now? If not, Contact Me and I’ll try to help you find the answer to something in particular.

    1. The Best WordPress Plugins to Make Your Blog Mobile-Friendly
    2. Free Mobile Website Builder
    3. Create A Mobile Webpage
    4. HOW CAN I CHECK IF MY QR CODE IS WORKING?
    5. 2D Barcode Videos on Google Video
    6. Mobile Development Wiki
    7. Mobile Application Marketshare on Wikipedia
    8. USA Today pdf on ScanLife
    9. Warbase Designs (Designer QR Codes)
    10. QR Codes expected to become big in the US
    11. Microsoft Sponsored results of Latest News of Mobile Tagging
    12. The Barcode Update You Never Asked For, But Still Need
    13. QR Codes on Mashable
    14. Doritos Late Night Promotion
    15. Fast Company Magazine Blog: Layar: Augmented Reality Arriving for Android Phones, iPhone Soon
    16. AugmentedBusinessCard.net
    17. Why QR Codes Will Be Big Business in the U.S.
    18. QR Codes Explained
    19. Create Free Mobile Websites
    20. MTag launches personalized 2D bar code tags for marketing campaigns
    21. Modavox’s Augme Mobile Enters Into Marketing Agreement With DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers, Graphic Packaging International, Inc. and Scanbuy, Inc. to Promote Mobile Technologies in the Packaging Industry

     

    Slideshare Presentations:

    There are quite a few Presentations and Slides in reference to QR Codes and/or 2D Barcodes on Slideshare.

    Searching QR Code in Slideshare pulled up 445 Presentations in English

    Searching 2D Barcode in Slideshare pulled up 164 presentations in English.

    1. Why You Should Include a QR Code with your Podcast Feed
    2. QR Code: Connecting Offline to Online
    3. QR Code: Twitter Enabled Offline Ads
    4. QR Codes and the Future of Next Generation mLearning
    5. Open workshop QR Codes
    6. Qr Codes – the Business Card of Tomorrow
    7. QR Code: Business Cards 2.0 (The QR Code Address Book)
    8. An introduction to QR Codes
    9. 35 Awesome Augmented Reality Examples
    10. Connecting Offline to Online
    11. Demo: Intro QR Codes – JISC2009
    12. QR Codes as a Learning Tool
    13. What’s the Power behind 2D Barcodes? Are they the Foundation of the Revival of Print Media?

    …and for those in the Jurasic Era: Create 1D Barcodes (“Normal” or “Regular” Barcodes) Online:

     

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    • Metha

      Other than the lovely QR code, I found the EZcode from the ScanLife seems to be making big commercial moves with the operators, brands, and handset manufacturers.

      According to ScanLife the EZcode is more size-efficient than the DM and QR. I wonder if the EZcode is quietly and surely taking up the market share?

      Is there any 2D barcode market share numbers out there to give us a better sense of the moves from different fronts (codes)?

    • http://mobilecrossmedia.com JAFS

      Hi,
      Great article, a lot of information. Thks
      I make this schema, to compare 1d and 2d barcode approach between several companies

      QR Code Comparison - 2009
      http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2601/4118376848_27d4d5c087_o.jpg
      See you
      Jack

    • http://AnthonyCerreta.com Anthony Cerreta

      Today I was fortunate enough to meet with the “godfather of QR codes” Dave Mathews and discuss a new project he is working on. Albeit in the conversation I realize I had missed a very influential QR Code advancement – what many consider the beginning of the QR craze and one of the first mainstream QR campaigns if not the first. “To understand where you are going you must first understand where you came from”, but in this case a better phrase might be “To understand everything you must forgive everything”…

      In the late 1990's Dave worked with Digital Convergence Corporation to invent and develop cuecat (trademarked :CueCat) which was a cat-shaped handheld barcode reader. In late 2000, advertisements, special web editions and editorial content containing CueCat barcodes appeared for more than a year in many high-circulation U.S. mass-market periodicals, notably Parade magazine, Forbes magazine and Wired magazine. Other favorite commercial publications such as AdWeek, BrandWeek and MediaWeek also employed the technology.

      Unfortunately the CueCat in its initial concept has been considered a commercial failure, although the technology invented by the company in 1998 and deployed on September 11, 2000 is considered to be the forerunner to many popular barcode scanning, photo recognition, and manual barcode input apps that are now employed on smart phone technology. These were made common ten years after the launch of the CueCat by the Windows Mobile platform, iPhone, Android and Blackberry smart phones.

      Although Digital Convergence and the CueCat system are generally assumed to be defunct, the Digital Convergence website remained as a ghost site through 2004. Previously, the website contained the following statement:

      The dream was to connect items in the physical world to the Internet, automatically. In January that dream hit a bump in the road and the servers were taken offline. They will scan again… If you have a Cue Cat, save it. The patents and technology created by Digital Convergence will again be available for business and consumer use.

      Currently the website contains information about the device, its history and information on the company licensing the resulting intellectual property which numbers more than 110 granted US patents.

      Most of this was taken from the cuecat Wikipedia page at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CueCat

    • http://www.adhost.dk/sogemaskineoptimering.shtml søgemaskineoptimering

      The winner receives a romantic overnight Valentine’s Day weekend package, which includes Cerreta chocolates and champagne upon arrival, dinner for two at Litchfield’s and breakfast in bed for two. Each entry also receives a complimentary dessert for …

    • http://yangutu.com Dating

      Vincent Dolan, the marketing manager at Total Produce, says the company decided to start usingQR codes for a number of reasons. Research from An Bord Bia showed that a lack of understanding of how to prepare fresh produce was holding back its use. …

    • Pingback: QR Code I Created for Good Cook Pancake Creator goes into Stores Nationwide | Anthony Cerreta

    • Ivy Louis

      Wow~this is absolutely awesome post here with such useful information~
      and I wanna add my contribution:)

      I’ve been using a very wonderful barcode generator at
      http://onbarcode.com/software/barcode_generator.html

      and then this fantastic barcode reader for FREE at
      http://onbarcode.com/scanner/

      For developers, here’s barcode generator for .NET at
      http://onbarcode.com/products/net_barcode/

      and apps for smart phones like iPhone and Android and many more!

      Have a try~ very easy and great~

    • http://www.eusuperpharmacy.com/ Soft Chewable Lovegra

      However, to use QR, which is specifically designed for smartphones, one has to download a special QR code reader app to interpret the codes, and there are …

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_JTLTT3RFOJXMYBHT4VS6XB3XMM Jessica

      Here is a website which offer free QR Code java barcode generator which can run on any operating system and create and print high-quality barcode.
      http://www.onbarcode.com/products/java_barcode/barcodes/qrcode.html

    • Aframiller326

      Well, now QR Code even became a way to save paper. Last week, I read a magazine and it gives some interesting tests at the end of it. But the answers are encoded in QR Code. But my phone cannot support barcode scanning. So…

      Barcodelib.com