In Thursday’s free London newspaper, the Metro (13th Jan 2011) there was a very nice double spread article about Quick Response (QR) codes. A QR code is of course a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code), readable by dedicated QR barcode reader and many camera phones.
These are similar to barcodes: if you scan them, it will show information about a given item, but instead of bars it has a series of dots. This format allows storing a little bit more information, because of its bi-dimensionality.
The code can carry a hidden URL, a number; or a link to an audio file. Many smart phone are these days equiped with apps to de-code QR codes and it can provide new ways of communicating with customers.
In the Metro article – isn’t it great to see mainstream press picking up this stuff Ed they have a nice example with the charity Oxfam who have beeing using them to keep an audio record of the history behind donated articles.
For example when a jumper or scarf – or what ever the shopper was buying – was scanned, a recorded message was played in the store’s PA telling the story of the item. Oxfam tried it only for a week, but it gives a good teaster of what it can be done with this technology and how it could also be linked to digital signage in stores.
Last year the Weather Channel in the US put a large QR code on screen during a TV broadcast. Viewers that scanned it were taken to the Android marketplace, where they were able to download the weather channel app for their mobile phone.