Monthly Archives: April 2012

Mobile Money Network: Completing the Circle

The Mobile Money Network, owned by the Carphone Warehouse, is a mobile payment system. Along the same lines as Google Wallet and Paypal’s mobile payment system. Within the next year their aim is to have several hundred big companies using the network in advertising campaigns. This is where a fundamental change could occur in the use of QR Codes in adverts.

Currently it is too often the case that QR Codes in a glossy magazine simply takes you to more rubbish information about a product you already know you are interested in. However with the Mobile Money Network the plan is to link these QR Codes to instant purchase pages. Although security fears surrounding QR Codes have been raised in the past, with people able to put their own link over the top with ease, this should solve the problem; an application such as this will be able to verify that it is a proper authenticated product.

It will be interesting then to see how this develops. Big names such as Thorntons, HMV and Debenhams are reportedly considering adopting the scheme. Only time will tell whether this is a viable option but if they find an effective way to link it to peoples bank accounts (e.g. without having to top up another account regularly) then it could catch on. Only time will tell.


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New Release.. New Features… Better Barcode Reading

The last couple of weeks have been busy ones here at Softek Software. As driving rain and windy conditions try to dampen the office bike rides new versions and better barcode reading have been slowly emerging. As the result of feedback from customers and innovative approaches we are pleased to announce several improvements to both the SDK and the ready to use application (BardecodeFiler).

Firstly BardecodeFiler, which requires no development (simply download and use!) has seen a very useful new feature added. No Longer can it only be run in an automated fashion though Windows Scheduler but it now has its own timer. Hopefully this will allow for a greater user experience and better efficiency; why make things more complicated than they need to be? This can allow a company to run regular (e.g. every 15 minutes) scans of the input folder to ensure a quick flow of information through the office.

New Timer Feature

Secondly we are very pleased to announce new and improved Data Matrix Barcode reading. For more information on these 2D barcodes see my post from last week. Although these were read at a very high rate before we feel that this new version exceeds all expectations. Don’t believe us? Check it out for yourself! It can be downloaded for free from our website and you can get a free 30 day evaluation license by dropping us an email.

So if you are an existing customer then we recommend trying out the latest version to see how it can help you. And if you are currently considering the adoption of barcode technology then check out our software, it could just be the difference your company is looking for!


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Affordable Innovations

I have written about several uses of QR Codes being implemented on signs to deliver more information, whether it be on tourist routes in Cornwall or bus stops in Leeds. The latest place to go along this route is the tidal road which gives access to Holy Island. It was only last year that a couple had to abandon their hire car after getting caught out by the tides. Although a sign clearly states ‘Do not proceed when water reaches causeway’ to the layman it could be a big ask to establish when is too close.

The solution has been to introduce new signs using QR Codes to link travellers to the latest information required. The other alternative which was cited in this case was an electronic board which would advise drivers on whether it is safe; although clearly an effective option it is often prohibitively expensive. Therefore when it comes to delivering the most up to date and advanced information possible to locations which are either too remote or numerous for heavy investment a QR Code is able to achieve similar results at the fraction of the price.

The obvious flaw here is that not everyone owns a smart phone capable of utilising such information. However where the alternative is no information QR Codes clearly have an important role to play. Want to integrate barcode reading into your application? Check out our website!


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The Data Matrix

If you read this blog, or many others for that matter, you could be forgiven for thinking that QR Codes are are the only 2D barcodes to exist. However the Data Matrix is still widely used and very effective in many situations. I started thinking about this following the Guardian blogon poor QR Code usage showed a Data Matrix and claimed it to be a QR Code which was simply to small to be of any use. Despite containing many amusing examples of terribly conceived QR Codes it also seem a bit desperate for content and forgets 2D barcodes need not be restricted to customer interaction.

Probably best to check what Barcode you're dealing with!

Both Data Matrix and QR Codes were developed by large businesses involved in technical production to track parts and products as they moved around. Since within a company you can choose the conditions for barcode reading and the quality level of the barcodes produced the large redundancy provided by QR Codes is not always necessary. Therefore Data Matrix can make for very space efficient barcoding.

For more information on Data Matrix standards see this useful PDF. Or for more information on how easily barcode reading can be incorporated into your company check out our website and try out SDK or ready to use application today!


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QR Codes Bringing Back Reality

It seems technology has got many cities into a situation where it is accepted to drive anywhere and people think nothing of getting the car out to drive round the corner. However technology does not have to simply lead to evermore laziness.

A ‘tactical urbanism’ project in Raleigh, America, where citizens take issues into their own hands to improve the city has met with huge success. Putting up signs around the city informing people how long it takes to walk to other various parts of town, complete with QR Code for directions, were so professionally done everyone assumed they were part of an official campaign.

This is the perfect use of QR Code technology to tap into the lives of people who have grown to rely on technology and have probably turned off from other sources. Furthermore the reason people drive is that they probably don’t have to think about it, and a QR Code with directions is able to make the decision to walk that much easier.

Therefore while this is clearly just a small step it is definitely something worth applauding. For more information see the Washington Post website here.

If you are interested in integrating barcodes into your project then checkout our website here.


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Quality QR Code Reading

QR Codes are big business, there is no avoiding them. Just look at this blog which theoretically is about all types of barcodes but the show is stolen by the QR Code. There is simply just more news about them.

Therefore when it was decided they should be added to our SDK and applications we realised it would have to be good. Now it has been around for a few months we are confident we have one of the best QR Code reading systems around. Although the huge redundancy in QR Codes does make them an efficient read this is often taken out by the marketing people, impressed by the amount the barcode can be messed around with. However as feedback continues to come in from customers we believe ours is working very well.

Quality QR Code Reading

One customer has noted the ability of our software to read however the code has been scanned “Straight or crooked; copy , fax or original… It’s really good.”

But don’t take our word for it, or theirs, you can try it today for free! We have a free application available through google play or you can download it from our website for mobile platforms, windows, OS and linux.

We would love to hear what you think so get in touch!


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Barcodes Driving Consumer Value

How many times have you received a bill, either domestic or commercial, and thought to yourself that you need to establish whether you’re getting the best deal? Probably quite a lot, however if you’re anything like me this resolution will last about 30 seconds until your mind starts to drift onto the next task on your list, the bill can wait until next week.

So despite all the rhetoric from companies promising to make it easy to shop around for different contracts, especially in the domestic energy market, most people have far better to do with their time let alone the desire to work out their energy usage to ensure the best deal. However the UK’s favourite hypocrite, Nick Clegg, has finally been allowed to make a positive announcement that from now on bills will come with a “special barcode” (I would assume this means a QR Code) which can be scanned to give you instant quotes from other companies for your energy bill.

The idea is that this will allow the consumer to switch supplier in a matter of minutes. Most importantly though it probably not the time, since going online to change supplier probably only takes a few minutes, but the fact that it is available there when you have that bill in your hand. This is using barcodes at their best, to link the physical and digital spheres in a way that saves people time. Furthermore the fact that he quote can instantly be aware of how much energy you’re using will mean that the quotes you get could be tailored to your actual needs.

Could this tempt you to change supplier?


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Mobile Barcode Reading

Just a few years ago when someone was going to read a barcode it would have been assumed by the layman that they would require a hand held scanner, with the red laser lines like you get in the supermarket. However these days it is accepted that mobiles can achieve this quite happily. Therefore if you haven’t got mobile scanning integrated into your application perhaps it is time you had a look at it?

Increasingly companies are introducing mobile applications for their staff who want to use their own equipment, not some clunky standard issue stuff. This means that at a moments scanning the staff member can be linked directly to all the information required about a piece of hardware or a document which they have found.

If you want to give it a go then check out our ready made app on Google Play or even better check out our mobile SDK on our website.

Want more information? Just get in touch!


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These aren’t just QR Codes.. they are M&S QR Codes

British retailer Marks and Spencer are introducing wifi into ten of their shops alongside QR Codes so that customers can make the most of the information. Although some retailers have expressed concern at making it too easy for customers to view in the shops and then purchase elsewhere online history has proved that it is only those who embrace new technology who survive. As the mp3 music revolution has shown it is pointless to try and stop the progression, better to try and direct it in your favour!

The use of QR Codes in shops is obvious, for example if you find something you like but not in your size then stock information can be quickly found, or even order a delivery straight to your house! This saves both time and money for store and consumer.

It will be interesting to see if these schemes end up rolling out nationwide, I have not heard any more recently of the Oxfam QR Code trial; although it has only been a few months so I’m not jumping to conclusions.

What do you think of these changes?


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