Tag Archives: media

Instant Quote for Used Phone…Enabled by QR Codes

Everyone has seen adverts for these companies, the model obviously proves profitable. Old smartphones can be traded in, for money, to be recycled. These companies make money, the consumer makes money and the phones do not end up straight in the landfill. However the process is not flawless, the companies like to view the phones before they pay money for them and consumers are easily put off by such obstacles. This means that only around 10% ever get recycled in such a manner.

So what is the solution? QR Codes of course. American company MaxBack has released a QR Code which, when scanned, assesses the phone and makes an instant offer. This clever use of the QR Code works in several ways. Firstly its entire target audience has smartphones so can scan the device, secondly it is self selecting. If someone has a smartphone which is so run down it will no longer scan a QR Code then it cannot get the offer. Finally it means that when someone sends their phone off they can do so with a good awareness of what they will receive in return.

So don’t get bogged down in the numerous terrible uses of QR Codes, embrace those who do the technology justice! For more information on our Mobile Barcode Reading SDK check out our website.

Jack

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Barcodes Reach 60!

60 years ago, on sunday 7th October, the barcode patent was filed in the USA. It only took another 22 years for the required readers to appear and for them to appear in the first shops in 1974 but since then the world has not looked back. The fact that the barcode was invented decades before an effective method for reading them was developed is testament to how simple the barcodes themselves are, simply lines of ink.

The BBC have written a very interesting piece about barcodes on their 60th birthday, exploring the standard debate surround QR Codes vs. Traditional 1D barcodes, worth a read but I will try not to regurgitate.

The major point I think it is worth making on the 60th birthday of the Barcode is that they show no sign of disappearing. The task they perform in linking physical objects to a digital database is more relevant than ever, and there is nothing which can compete in terms of cost-effectiveness. So do I think that we will be celebrating 100 years of barcodes in the year 2052? Yes. I am sure that Near Field Communication will develop and the price will come down but the simplicity of barcodes is going to keep them central to the indsutrialised world. Especially as more countries become industrialised and there is a greater competition for resources the simply solutions will surely stand the test.

What are you opinions on the future hopes of barcodes?

If you are interested in exploring what barcodes can do for your business then check out our website, with Software Development Kits and a ready-to-use application there is something to suit anyone.

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QR Codes vs. Digital Signage: but should they be compared?

I have been exploring the uses of QR Codes for a while and it seems clear that they offer huge advantages, especially for small businesses. With the minimal set up costs and ease of implication it is an easy step to take. However the manner in which they are used is still widely variable.

Reading an article comparing the use of QR Codes vs. Digital Signage for small businesses set me thinking, should they be compared at all? The only similarity is the ease with which the content can be changed, but a QR Code should not simply be replacing the job of what a chalkboard can do. With the extra hassle of finding the application on the phone and waiting for the content to load it is simply not comparable in that sense. QR Codes are a brilliant way to bridge the gap between physical and online spheres, but only where that is desirable.

For example a small shop should not keep a list of in-store special offers on a webpage accessible through a QR Code, its just hassle for everyone. However if you wish to encourage webtraffic and want to shift stock online QR Codes are a perfect way to channel interest.

Want to explore what barcode reading can do for your business, check out our range of SDKs for various platforms or our ready-to-use application on our website.

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Barcodes for Small Businesses

In charities and small businesses there is no room for waste, even small changes can sometimes be big decisions due to the resultant effect on already tight cash flows. However if you want to keep an organisation running smoothly and efficiently, investments must be made.

The Watford Observer has reported that the county council has awarded £750 to the Rickmansworth Toy Library to allow them to implement a barcode lending system. Many people working in business will be reluctant to take lessons from a local toy library, however it is something worth paying attention to. An efficient and automated system not only provides a check on human error but it also allows staff to concentrate on the less monotonous tasks which can really propel an organisation forward.

In small business there is always the option of a manual workaround, and often they do save money, but a long term view can help a small group of people have a big impact. For more information on what barcode reading could do for your business check out our ready-to-use barcode application.

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USPS Look to Book Festive Business with Barcodes

The United States Postal Service have announced they will once again be looking to raise awareness of their seasonal offers through encouraging people to engage with mail through new technologies such as mobile barcodes. This will allow business users of the mail service to qualify for a 1-2% discount on delivery over the period; a substantial sum for many firms. To qualify the companies simply have to include a QR Code on their mail, which can be read by the recipient, to take them to a personalised webpage or online catalogue.

In tandem with this is a campaign to encourage the distribution of coupons and promotional offers for mobile shoppers. For obvious reasons the USPS are keen to encourage mobile shopping, if you buy on your phone it will be them who are paid to get it to you! Therefore this seems very sensible, a company taking the initiative in ensuring the market moves in the direction that suits them as quickly as possible. This also demonstrates how QR Codes should be used, not as some weak promotional gimmick but as the link to something which encourages business whilst offering something to the customer.

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Barcodes Fighting Forgery

News agency Reuters have reported that scientists in America have developed a ‘nano’ QR Code printed from fluorescent ink which can be used to help prevent counterfeiting. The basic idea is that the QR Codes, invisibly to the naked eye, are printed on the bank notes so they can be checked for authenticity later. Many people may ask why QR Codes? Bank notes have had invisible ink used to track them for years! Well QR Codes can contain far more information, and this information can be linked to a database which means without access to the database it will mean nothing to those attempting replication. Secondly they can be printed so small that they could be made to only be visible through a microscope, again making the job of any potential counterfeiters much harder.

Barcodes, in their simplicity are the ideal solution. The price to print them is only ever as much as the ink, compared to NFC chips which are less versatile. It is for this reason that it will be a very long time until we see them out of use, in fact it appears uses for barcodes are forever expanding.

If you want to explore what barcodes can do for your business then check out our website.

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Mobile Giants Battle over Barcode Patents

We have all heard recently of the patent battles raging between Samsung and Apple; Samsung now have to pay huge sums of money to Apple. This is nothing new and seems to have become a rather ugly side to the world of business where legal departments do battle. Aside from the fact that a patent should be an ‘unintuitive’ step, which most of their patents for ’rounded edges’ are not, it means that the consumer loses out. Less choice and higher prices seem to be the inevitable outcome.

However the patents that companies are battling over does show clues as to the future of mobiles technology. With this in mind I have been very interested to see in the news patents for mobile barcode technology being awarded to the large mobile companies. They appear to be mainly related to capabilities for enhanced shopping experiences where you can scan a barcode to add something to your shopping list. This is not a new concept with Tesco including it within their mobile shopping app quite a while a go. This point aside, though, it is clear that the expansion of barcode enabled mobile shopping is going to arrive.

If you want to get ahead of the game with mobile barcode technology then check out our website.

Where do you see mobile barcode technology going?

Jack

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QR Code Use on the Rise

The use of QR Codes has in recent years started to get a bad press in some quarters, their gratuitous use of annoyance to many. This has led to many predicting their speedy demise to be replaced by NFC which can offer more information. However is appears that for all the negativity the use of QR Codes in the USA has increased 40% year on year (taken from BBC website).

This will come of little surprise to those who have used QR Codes since unlike NFC there is little (almost no) cost in implementation. The only cost is in the printing of the QR Code and all the complicated information which you may wish to convey is simply held on a website. Especially at a time when companies do not have the money to invest heavily but still need to innovate the choice of QR Codes seems obvious.

It should also be seen as a consumer driven trend. Although every phone you now see advertised comes under the ‘smart phone’ category there are still many new people changing to smartphones each year; the market is not yet at its full size. Therefore as more people invest in smartphones the effectiveness of QR Codes can only increase. So if companies follow the basic rules or using short web addresses to keep the barcode simple and ensure that the user is offered something for their effort then QR Codes will continue to flourish.

Want to read QR Codes on your android? Check out our FREE application in the Google Play store. Alternatively if you want to learn about integrating barcode reading into your software then visit our website.

Jack

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London Olympics – Reflections on the Games and Future Legacy

So the London Olympics have come to an end, and sadly I have been beaten. No, I was not competing, and neither did I get fed up of it, quite the opposite. As I settled in to watch the opening ceremony the cynic within was ready to start lampooning the cheap efforts to replicate Beijing’s extravagance. However I found myself enjoying a great evening of entertainment (almost patriotic!) and have not looked back for the past sixteen days. If I’m not at work or out on my bike then I’ve been firmly parked infront of the box shouting and screaming in support of the South Korean Handball team or a Grenadian sprinter. As a company we all sadly missed out on tickets to the games, such was the demand, but we did make it to some of the free stuff. The ‘training team’ we sponsor were there to cheer on Team GB in the men’s road race, although that particular event didn’t go to plan the dominance of GB on two wheels has been a highlight of the Olympics for us (especially after Wiggo’s win at the Tour). 

This last week I have been working in Edinburgh where another of Britain’s great events is held, the Fringe Comedy Festival. I had read many articles talking of the Olympics damaging the festival but there was no sign of that, the city was as packed as ever during the festival month. The city centre a constant crowd of different nationalities and people flyering. The BBC had erected 2 huge screens in the centre where you could enjoy a drink and watch the sport alongside a huge enthusiastic crowd. Even better, the sun was out, in Scotland! A great evening was spent with a Gin and Tonic watching the 200m final with the Jamaican clean sweep. There was also time to get out into the hills with some of the Softek Software training team, and the hills around Edinburgh do not disappoint!

So as a business based near London, but experiencing the Olympics across the UK, all I can say is it has been brilliant. Too often the UK seems in the news for negative reasons and as a company dealing internationally it can knock the image and consequently sales. However in the wake of this event British business should have a new confidence in the world market. Maybe we no longer have the overwhelming muscle now enjoyed by China, and reflected in their Olympics, but we can deliver a good job which most importantly will last the test of time. It astonished me that London 2012 is the first games to have an emphasis on legacy, no throw away lavish celebrations but an attempt to ‘inspire a generation’. This is a great image to share with the world and to associate with Britain, quality which will last for centuries not just a quick short term success.

I will end this post before I get too misty eyed, after all the world goes on and we have the Vuelta Espana to get excited about next. What was your lasting impression of the games? Is this a fair reflection or is it seen differently from around the world? For more reflection check out this report card from Yahoo USA.

Jack

 

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Big Problems Require Simple Solutions

Everyone will have faced big problems or big projects in their line of work, the sort of problem which at first seems insurmountable. However these issues which seems to have no easy answer are often best solved with the simplest of solutions.Take for example Monday’s post about charities using QR Codes to generate extra revenue from people without cash, it didn’t need hand held card machines, simply used the technology everyone is already carrying.

Therefore I was unsurprised to see that the Egyptian elections had been making the most of barcode technology. Since they are holding what are considered the first free and fair elections in their modern history there is no precedent to work from, no template. Using barcodes they are able to quickly ensure that the national identification cards match up with the lists they have.

I am well aware though that you are probably not reading this seeking advice for running elections in a newly democratic country (and if you are, I’d keep looking!) but the point remains the same for other complicated projects. Keep it simple. Systems work best when everyone understands them and when there are checks in place to avoid human error, barcodes can offer both of these things. So if you are looking to simplify or increase efficiency then check out our website.

Jack

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