Tag Archives: qrcode

Barcodes: Pillars of Art

The challenge of public art is often in conveying complicated messages and views through very simple mediums. A statue or mural are the popular forms chosen, however these certainly have their limitations. Conceptional artists Claudia Reisenberger and Franka Diehnelt, of California, have utilised barcodes to show over 200 hundred years of history at the the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening  Project Site (basically a building site).

barcode reader art

Barcodes in Art

Each pillar of the viaduct has been transformed into a red and white barcode which contains some historical information. I’m not sure how practical these barcodes will be to read but it is certainly a striking look.

If you want to investigate barcode reading as part of your mobile application 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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Optimizing Income: QR Codes

If there is one industry which has to continually innovate it is the charity sector; often the first to feel the hit of an economic downturn as people feel they can be less generous with their hard earned cash. Therefore they are always quick adopters of new technology to optimise their income, the less money spent publicising the more money they can reserve for the real work.

In recent years the Salvation Army and homeless charity Simon on the Street, among others, have used QR Codes to direct people to an optimised payment page where a donation can be made. So if someone simply has no cash on them it is no problem for the collectors! What is more QR Codes take almost no investment to introduce, they are easily made for free and only cost as much as the paper they are printed on.

It is also worth remembering that the application required on smart phones for reading the QR Codes is freely available and most owners have such technology. We have our own freely available QR Code reader available for Android Phones which can be found on Google Play.

Fore more information on QR Codes check out our knowledge base.

Jack

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Softek Cycling Project

Those who follow us on twitter may be aware here as Softek we are a cycling mad bunch. Whether its a sneaky office bike ride on a quiet day or turning on the Giro d’Italia finish on an afternoon in the office, we love it. Therefore when the opportunity has come along to sponsor the kit of a small cycling team starting up in Edinburgh we couldn’t pass up on the opportunity. Although starting right at the bottom we look forward to seeing what they can achieve, and we’ll share the kit and results on here as they arrive!

So although we may not be about to hit the big time cycling world this is exciting stuff for Softek Software, keep an eye out for them on the roads and news on their progress here!

More info soon!

Jack

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The North Face Facing the Future

If you are a shopper of North Face stores in the US then you can now use their iphone app. This allows you to scan the barcode of products in store to receive real time information on sizing and colours in stock. This makes sense; rather than having to find a staff member and ask them to look, which is often inefficient, this instantly lets you know what is available. Early adoption by companies such as The North Face is a big leap of faith but the vast improvement it can offer customers in their shopping experience is likely to pay dividends. Shoppers, as humans, tend to take the path of least resistance so anything to make it easier is going to drive sales.

The only issue with this scheme is how specific it is. Firstly it only works North Face stores, perfect if that is where you always shop but if you are just popping in it will take longer to download the app and scan the barcode than simply asking the staff. This could be a big problem with adoption. Secondly it is only available for iPhone, with the widespread use of android this instantly wipes out a large portion of the smart phone market. (check out our mobile SDK though… it includes iphone AND android at no extra cost!)

Therefore long term maybe we will see retailers setting a standard for such a system, so that a single application may service an entire shopping centre or even every large retailer across a country.

Jack

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Gorilla Marketing

If you wander around any city, or especially a university campus, we now see QR Codes everywhere. From posters promoting grotty club nights to swanky car posters, everyone is involved. However I have noticed another trend, the posting of just a QR Code, no explanation given.

If you read this blog a few months a go you will be aware I lambasted the arrogance of marketing folk for assuming people will scan a QR Code simply because it’s there, with nothing offered in return. I stand by that comment and believe that a QR Code simply linking up to more marketing guff is pointless and will put people off using the technology, or the promoted product, again.

An exception to this though appears to be the solitary QR Code. They seem to be the only ones which get people stopping in the street, groups of people will wait as a friend scans the code; presumably out of curiosity for what it’s promoting. Admittedly it tends to be some social campaign or even just another route to a club night poster but still the success rate seems higher.

I still would not recommend such a tactic, it will surely only be a novelty so long, but does provide an insight into how users are interacting with the technology. Either provide mystery or provide incentive; failure to do either is where most people end up and will tempt few.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Jack

Want to know more about QR Codes? Check out our knowledge base.

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Providing More For Less

Scanning the Washington Post website earlier I found a story about a church in America who were engaging with modern media; common sense stuff. They had started streaming their services over the internet and provided a live web chat alongside it. However the innovations are not reserved for those unable to make it, if you attend the Christ Fellowship church in McKinney, Texas, then you can scan a QR Code on the way in to download the service programme.

Far from being a simply gimmick this makes a lot of sense, firstly it stops a large amount of waste. A single QR Code is far more economical than printing hundreds of programmes. It should also be remembered that although the Washington Post terms this as a ‘high tech’ church it is actually very simply to set up. QR Code generators are freely available and simply have to contain a URL. It is no harder for the smart phone user with plenty of free barcode readers available such as the Bardecoder for android. So the surprise maybe isn’t that a few churches are adopting such methods but that more are not! It is clear that many church goers will not own smart phones but the beauty of the system is its low set up costs (free!) and that it can happily sit alongside existing structures.

This suggestion though is not purely one aimed at the religous, history shows those who innovate thrive. So if you are interested in integrating barcode reading into your business in any capacity, from document organising to tracking parts,then check out our website for more information!

Jack

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Award Winning Software

Once again the Softek Barcode Reader has been named one of the top products by ComponentSource! The continued success of the Barcode Reader is testament to the high quality service it offers and the ability to keep evolving.

If you would like to try the SDK or our ready to use application for yourself then head over to our website where they can both be downloaded, and then simply get in touch for an evaluation license! With QR Codes now supported and improved Data Matrix reading, alongside many other features, there has never been a better time to give it a go!

If you are not sure how barcode reading can help your business then check out previous posts on this blog.

Jack

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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.

Jack

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