Tag Archives: security

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.


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There’s Something Fishy about this Barcode

The Frieze Art Fair in London is one of the biggest of its kind, with tickets starting at £20 it is certainly not cheap. However it is full of innovative new ideas and, this year at least, a novel approach to QR Codes.

We have seen QR Codes in many different guises, from corn mazes to office roofs there seems no limit to what they will be used for. This story is no different, albeit it a bit tastier. The sushi restaurant ‘Moshi Moshi’ has been inviting visitors to the art fair to try their sushi, but first to scan their food! The sushi itself is a QR Code which, when scanned, takes them to a website about the sustainability of the fish they are eating.

This trial is being held at the festival with a view to rolling it out to more of their restaurants, so you too could scan your food before you eat it. This is indeed another gimmicky use of the QR Code. However it is raising awareness about a very important message and reminding us that our food has its own back-story to tell is more relevant than ever.

If you are interesting in using QR Codes, or any type of barcode, in your business then check out our website for barcode reading solutions.

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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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QR Codes… not just for the living!

I have covered this news story previously when an American funeral directors and head stone producer started included QR Codes on head stones. I did not think I would see it again as I was doubtful people would wish to do anything novel with a grave stone.

However the BBC have now reported that it is taking off as a trend in Denmark. Since it has reappeared it seemed worth giving it another thought and it occurred to me that this was an excellent use of the technology. I am still not sure I would use the service myself but it solves the issue of a graveyards anonymity. If you see a head stone all you can gather from it is a name and some dates, you may be lucky to get a small quote but other than that there is nothing else we can find. Therefore as a system to neatly provide more information it is perfect, although the links must of course be well maintained.

Despite the fact I will not be rushing out to invest in this industry it does show the potential of QR Codes. With less than an inch square you can provide unlimited information through any media format you wish; not just text. If you wish to find out more about the potential of barcode reading for your company then check out our website.


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Something Fishy Going on in Norway: New Barcode Standard Appears

There are a steady stream of news stories talking about what is next in the world of barcodes, RFID and NFC dominate headlines. However around the world it appears industry is sticking with the mantra of if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it. While QR Codes are heralded as a break through 1D barcodes are still clearly in the driving seat. They are cheap, simple and when linked to a database even a small barcode can provide more than enough information.

It is no surprise then that Norway have just launched a new barcode standard for fish boxes and pallets. Fishing is a huge industry in the Nordic country and has had to become highly regulated to ensure high standards. Barcodes can do this with ease and the investment in a new standard shows that they are far from on their way out. The reason for the change was to bring together several different systems and to established a single standard to which all could conform. Luckily in the world of barcodes such changes are not too expensive, simply means a change to the software and changing which barcodes you print; hardware can remain the same.

So don’t believe the hype, 2D barcodes and Near Field Communication may be all over the news but 1D barcodes offer the reliability and ease of use required by huge industry and will be with us for decades to come.

Do you agree 1D barcodes are far from obsolete?


For more information on barcode reading visit out website.

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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.


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Virtual Grocery Store Lands in the UK – Tesco joins the party

I have written blogs about entirely virtual grocery stores in the past, but these have always been stories of countries like South Korea or Japan who we associate as being very comfortable with such lavish technology use. However it has now arrived in the UK, or more precisely Gatwick airport, and its not just some new upstart company but Tesco who have introduced it. The idea is that you can scan all the products you want and they will be delivered for you on the day you return from holiday. This obviously is a solution to the annoying problem of going away on holiday for a fortnight, throwing out all your perishables, and returning home to no food in the fridge.

The fact that this should come from a large company such as Tesco is important, many people will already have accounts with Tesco; using their existing online delivery service. Secondly there is the trust issue, people are often wary of new innovations like this but the name Tesco will surely go a long way to allaying these fears. Also for something like this to be effective, and economical, it needs a large infrastructure, which again shows why this is Tesco who are undertaking the project rather than a small company; this is not a new idea, but it needs the correct situation to prosper.

However this is obviously a bit of a gimmick at this stage, the additional planning required to cope with this is surely going to cost more than this potential market. It could though just be a test, something which is going to be rolled out around the country. Supermarkets have been trying to get more convenient than the out of town retail park which once seemed to be the norm, see all the small ‘express’ versions popping up around town centres. These though will be costing a lot, property in town centres are not cheap. Therefore to simply shove up some barcodes the savings will be incredible.

I don’t think supermarkets and shops are about to all disappear to be replaced by barcodes but with such a big company emerging in the game it seems likely this will become a more common form of shopping.

Want to see what barcode reading software can do for you? Check out our website.


p.s. For more details on this story see the BBC.

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Barcodes: For When Error Is Not an Option

The Department of Health and the NHS Commissioning Board have announced that by 2014 they will be actively working to promote the use of ‘barcode medication administration’ in care homes. This may appear to be over complicating a simple matter but when absent mindedness could cost lives it is a small price worth paying. What is more, barcode technology is relatively a cheap system to introduce for the results it can provide.

No matter how well trained staff are human error is inevitable, and while a machine can never replace the knowledge and rationality of a human, barcode technology acts as a safety net against fatal errors. Also from a purely administrative point of view it can allow for far more cost efficient service, when you know exactly where everything in your company is overheads can come tumbling down.

Using our ready to use BardecodeFiler application you could ensure that every document in your business is properly filed for when you need it. Check out our website or drop us an email for more information.


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Backing Up: a game changer

In recent days I have suffered a fate that everyone fears, my hard drive died. One second the laptop was fine, 5 minutes later I go to turn it on somewhere else and ‘a disk read error’ is all that I see. So straight down to the local computer store, who did a great speedy job, and was told it was so bad they could recover nothing. Nothing!

Now this is where everyone you talk to becomes an expert, yes of course I backed up my work; but only the essentials. Luckily all my work for the company is backed up automatically so that is no problem. My music is saved on my phone, so again, no problem. The real annoyance is the photos and even more so all the random documents, all the bits which never seemed worth specifically bothering to back up but then you realise how useful they are.

So what is the moral of this story? Well as far as I was told by everyone across all social networks it was dropbox I needed (too embarrassed to admit I already had it but simply hadn’t bothered using it!). However I was frustrated by dropbox and the way it worked, so I went looking for something new. My flatmate then told me about something he’d seen in passing called Ubuntu One (yes it runs on Windows!). Ubuntu 1, much like dropbox, gives you free space to back up your documents and then access them anywhere. However with Ubuntu 1 you get, for free, 5gb rather than 2gb and you simply set it to sync with whichever folders on your computer you want. There are of course apps for iphone and android plus the ability to stream your music from the cloud straight to your phone. Even more impressive is the paid for service which at only $30 a year gives you 20gb plus the ability to listen offline to your music collection stored by ubuntu.

So basically I just wanted to share how impressed I was with Ubuntu 1 and its ability to make backing up effortless. However there must be other services like dropbox and Ubuntu out there, any others worth a look?


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QR Code Security

I have read several times about issues with QR Code security but have rarely found examples, until today I stumbled upon this article from the BBC in December. Although mainly about the security issues of HTML 5 it also raises the issue of QR Codes where the problem appears more physical than it is technological. Since it is obviously impossible to tell where a QR Code is going to direct your phone when  you scan it some fraudsters have already started taking advantage. By placing their own QR Code sticker physically on top of the other barcode they can direct users to any site they wish.

My first reaction to this was that with a bit of common sense it could be avoided; almost all barcode readers, such as Softek’s, show the user the URL they are about to be directed to before taking them there. However to make QR Codes cleaner and easier to use companies sensibly use URL shortening tools such as bit.ly to produce a more concise link, this though obviously makes it harder for a user to tell where they are going.

This then does present a real issue, but only insofar as where it is advisable to scan a QR Code. For example on some scrappy poster or sticker it would appear a risky move. However if the QR Code is on an advertising poster, behind perspex/glass then it is obviously much safer; same goes for magazines where people are far more likely to use them. My main point is that in the places where people have the ability to tamper with the QR Codes it probably is not worth using them anyway and I doubt many people do. QR Codes are effective but only in the correct situation where someone is likely to have the time to scan it and when there is a real benefit offered to the user.

Therefore caution and common sense is the best way to stay protected, which is increasingly important with mobile phones containing ever more sensitive data. Although there are dodgy QR Codes out there, just as there are fraudulent emails, the situation in which you find it should give you all the information you need.

Anyone ever found a ‘dodgy’ QR Code?


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