Monthly Archives: February 2012

Barcodes Out the Office

We are all used to the many numerous applications of barcodes in factories, offices or even hosptials (and if you’re not then look back through this blog!). However their use is not limited to the indoors or the brand new. The USA’s National Gallery of Art East Building is currently being renovated. Built with a distinctive pink marble finish it is currently being stripped down before being put back together.

The National Gallery East Building at Night

It is important to the look of the building though that it should be restored as it was before, not an easy job for such a uniquely designed building. The solution was simple though, as each brick came down it was photographed and barcoded to indicate where it came from. This is a perfect example of where the simple technology of barcodes enables potential human error and confusion to be checked.

What is more little fancy equipment is required. Although in this case they are using an ipad to scan the bricks it is a job that any smart phone could perform. To find out more check out our mobile SDK on our website or download our ready to use application from the Android Market Place.

Any questions or comments? Just ask!


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New European Flag… a Barcode?

A Dutch artist by the name of Koolhaas has designedd a new European flag, this time a little more exciting than gold stars of a blue background. Although it appears that the EU aren’t falling over themselves to adopt it I thought it worth sharing, mainly since it does look like a colourful barcode; in fact more of a flag amalgamation.

Any thoughts? And would it not have been more exciting if it also scanned?

Can you find all the flags in it?

If you want more barcode art then check out this previous blog or our website for trees pretending to be barcodes.

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QR Codes in Hollywood

You have probably heard of the film ‘Marth Marcy May Marlene’ and you may well have been to see it. However have you seen their QR Code poster? Cleverly using a rather dark image of someones face as the ‘background’ colour to a QR Code. Although some critics have claimed it won’t last the test of time (but obviously thats not what the poster is for… and whose to say it doesn’t become a classic) it has also been described as ‘attractively elegant and modern’. You may be aware from my previous posts that I am not usually a fan of QR Codes being messed around with, or more people slapping a logo in the centre. For this though an exception must be made, well designed, functional and still very clearly a QR Code.

"Attractively elegant and modern"

Did you see this poster up? And more importantly did you scan it?


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QR Codes: Knowing Your Audience

I have gone on about this a fair amount I guess, but only because it is so often overlooked, that just by sticking on a QR Code there is no guarantee it will be used. You must consider where it will be shown and to whom and for what purpose, these all effect the success rate. Therefore when I found some information on where people are most likely to scan QR Codes I thought it was too useful to not share.

Here then is a table of where  people with smartphones in the ‘EU5’ (France, Germany,Italy, Spain and the UK) are most likey to scan a QR Code.

  1. Home 57.4%
  2. Work 22.6%
  3. Outside or on Public Transport 20%
  4. Retail Store 17.8%
  5. Supermarket 17.2%
  6. Restaurant 5.7%

*Note they could choose more than one option, so does not add up! For the whole article visit The Independent

I would be very interested to see a bigger breakdown of results for ‘Outside or on Public Transport’ since it clearly covers such a wide range and probably where most QR Codes are shown.

Let me know you thoughts!


p.s. Our February Special Offer on the Mobile SDK is still available… check here!

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QR Codes Saving Money for Business

It has always been a big issue for buses, you want plenty of stops, you want to keep the travellers informed of arrival times but buses are unpredictable due to traffic. There are now electronic displays which can inform passengers of how long until the next bus but these are expensive when there are so many stops and often cannot be catered for outside of a city.

Therefore Leeds have opted for a QR Code based system, each bus stop has a QR Code which passengers can scan and then their smart phone turns into an arrivals board for that bus stop! This means that for the price of printing a sticker the city has been able to give up to date arrival times to everyone with a smart phone. Taking the unpredictability out of public transport which can make it so unappealing when you are trying to make it somewhere for a certain time.

QR Codes are perfect for allowing a business to use someone’s own personal device instead of investing in expensive equipment; furthermore consumers almost always prefer to use their own system which they are comfortable with. This idea is transferable for almost any business, whether you want to give information on directions around your office or access to online stock information.

If you need a QR Code reader then we offer one for FREE from the Android Market Place.

Also if you are looking to develop an application using a barcode reader then this month we are offering huge discounts on our mobile SDK… so head to our website!

I’d be very interested to hear your comments below.


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Less is more?

One of the big selling points people often push about QR Codes is the fact that you can make them look very different before they stop working. This is down to the large amount of redundancy, 30%, which allows for impartial reads without losing data. It is also this which makes it ideal for postering or to be scanned by mobile phones which do not always produce the clearest image.

However once people start putting their logo in the middle of the QR Code, often by this point their logo is only 10 pixels wide so fairly pointless, it then means that the image to capture the barcode must be perfect. Now this can be hard unless there is perfect light and people with shaky camera phones are willing to take the appropriate time.

It can sometimes still work.. but is it as distinctive?

What is more it actually makes the barcodes harder to identify! If you want more people to scan your QR Codes, as is usually the case, there is nothing wrong with a black and white block looking distinctively like a barcode. People instantly know what they are expected to do; in advertising you must remember the inherent laziness of the consumer since they do not have a vested interest in completing the desired action.

Anyone else agree with this or am I just being grumpy?

300Mbps Broadband: Not a typo

The last few days have been a struggle, here in the Edinburgh office we have been encountering the slow internet. Crawling downloads of below 100kbps which render work laborious. Although I can gratefully say the the problem is now rectified it meant I did do a little poking around for other options. It was at this point I found on the BBC website a story about BT intending to roll out 300Mbps broadband to businesses in the UK next year. This is 3 times the size of there current largest available speed.

This is significant since everyone has now come to terms with the fact that the speed advertised is not the speed you get; based on distance from an exchange among many other factors. Therefore despite most people and business these days going for 20mbps broadband the national average, according to ofcom, is only 7.6mbps.

An area this could have a large impact in is that of ‘web books’ and tablet PCs which are fairly rubbish without the internet, and still essentially useless with crawling internet speeds. Moves like this which will see the limit greatly increased could be the game changer required to make them more reliable. However with a realistic view if 20mbps broadband converts in reality to 7.6mbps then 300mbps can only really be expected at 114mbps… still, I’d settle for that right now.


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QR Codes and the Super Bowl

Although this blog may be for a British based company it is true that even we do no escape the Super Bowl’s hype. I’m sure come the big day I will be gathered round a screen with some tasteless American lager and cardboard textured ‘chips,’ and what is more I’ll love it. Therefore I was doing my annual homework of working out what’s happened through the season this year, so I actually know who is playing and who to look out for. While poking around I found one of the numerous articles which bypasses the sport and goes straight to the commercials. Obviously. The Super Bowl is now an occasion in itself, transcending sport to become a giant corporate occasion where the adverts are almost as hotly anticipated as the football.

This has meant that in recent years budgets have been spirally to new levels for these adverts as competitors try and gain the edge and become the most talked about advert. Domain name hosting site is going for a first this weekend, to become the first Super Bowl advert to contain a QR Code. Viewers will be able to scan the QR Code shown on the screen to continue the advert onto their smart phone. This would obviously have the effect of effectively extending their advertising time for free. Therefore so long as the advert is shown for long enough it should be fine and I’m sure the novelty will get people involved, showing off what their smart phones can do.

However I’m not sure we will get the American adverts over this side of the pond so let me know how it goes!

Furthermore people will be needing QR Code reading applications for their Androids… if this is you then get ours for FREE from the market place.


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February Special offer for Mobile SDK

So January is over, already a twelfth of the way through 2012. Therefore it seems only right that we have a special offer for our blog and twitter followers…

Usually to develop and use the SDK costs 2,999 but for February we are offering the Mobile SDK Developer license with 25 runtime licenses! What is more if you email quoting ‘blog’ we can offer you a 15% discount code for this month on the mobile SDK (any of the mobile SDK licenses).

Unsure if our mobile SDK is for you? Then get across to our website and download it for free to check it out or go to the android market place to try our free ready built app. It reads 1d and 2d barcodes including QR Codes.

Any questions just post them below or email

We look forward to hearing from you!


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Barcodes and Human Error in Small Businesses

We are now all used to Barcodes in advertising and of course in shops. However many people are surprised to encounter them in hospitals or office paperwork, which has actually quickly become the major sectors for barcode reading technology. The advantages are obvious, quick processing and a safety check to ensure that human error doesn’t creep in. It is only natural that when someone is performing a task hundreds of times in a day that eventually they will, on ‘autopilot’, make a simple error with drastic consequences for a company or even worse for someone’s health.

Barcodes can help streamline a small business

The issue is trickier though for small business, especially those without large technology departments who can develop such systems. There is a solution however! At Softek Software we have created the BardecodeFiler which is a ready to use application. If you in put documents with barcodes then, through various settings, you are able to split them and rename them appropriately. For more information visit our website or email us at

Or you can simply post quesitons below!

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