Voir QR: The History, Use & Abuse of QR Codes


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A look at mobile tagging with QR codes. Technical specs, design considerations, artistic examples & marketing strategies.

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  • _____ & Marketing phenomenon enabled by advances in mobile technology. We’re going to have a little something for the technical folks & something for the marketers, so ignore the parts that don’t turn you on. We’ll talk about this in terms of brands interacting with fans, but put it into your own context if you’re an artist or have non-commercial intentions.
  • Open with quote from Great OneGot something relevant to say about internet marketingWe all know the mobile web is comingIt was supposed to get here in 2010; will surely be here in 2011This’ll be a web that’s delivered & experienced a little differently than 1 we’re used to interacting withThis one takes context into accountSo where and when the user is when they interact with your informationMobile tagging & QR codes are 1 of the gateways to this new contextual web.
  • For anyone who’s really new to the subject, this is what we’re talking about: this is what a QR code looks like in its basic form.
  • So what ARE QR codes? What does the QR stand for?
  • The ‘Q’ stands for ‘quick’. The process or transaction is immediate—ie, when the user wants it.
  • The ‘R’ is for ‘response’. The consumer responds to the brand or advertising by offering to connect. The brand responds by delivering something valuable to the potential fan.
  • Open in that specification is disclosed & the patent right isn’t excercised.
  • Doesn’t have to be a smartphone; Blackberry Curve has reader software (part of BBM). Probably a good idea, though. Japan & Korea phones all come with them. Feature phones use SMS couponing so not taking advantage of full possibilities. Must have autofocus camera to read 1D code.
  • To illustrate the process for you, I’ve developed this little image sequence infographic.
  • As I learned more about QR codes in researching this presentation, I discovered you don’t actually need to communicate with a server for every possible use of a QR code.
  • - Data encoded in the graphic &doesn’t need an internet connection to a server to decode it.-One bizarro use for QR codes I came across was using them to label the contents of boxes when you’re moving. Just generate codes with a list of the stuff inside the box, slap ‘em on, and read the codes off the boxes with your phone. Not sure why this is handier than using a Sharpie. But more often then not you’ll be using this to add a little ‘internet’ to physical stuff. So that’s pretty neat. We’re connecting real life stuff to the internet.
  • Originally, barcodes represented data by varying the widths & spacings of parallel lines in units of 1, 2, 3 or 4.2D developed to put more information in a smaller space.A charge-coupled device (CCD) is a light-sensitive integrated circuit that stores and displays image data by convertingpixels into electical charges (digital cameras & videocameras).
  • Macro of 35mm film audio tracks, from left to right: Sony SDDS, Dolby Digital, analog Optical, and finally DTS time code.Unfortunately there’s a strong competitor out there vying to take over the North American code market.
  • Just so you know what they look like: Level 40 QR code.Version 1 (21 x 21 modules) up to Version 40 (177 x 177 modules). Each higher version number comprises 4 additional modules per side. As the amount of data increases, more modules are required to comprise QR Code, resulting in larger QR Code symbols.
  • URL shortening service. Fewer characters = less info to include = a more robust QR code that produces fewer errors and can be used at a smaller size.Codeword=unit of data area = 8 bitsReed-Solomon=mathematical error correction method used for music CDs.The technology was originally developed as a measure against communication noise for artificial satellites and planetary probes.Because of the robust error correction, you can do stuff like this. Smallest code=good for small print / Largest code=best for fancy design
  • Takashi Murakami x Louis Vuitton.If anyone tells you QR codes are ugly, now you know they don’t have to be.Still scans. I’ve found if you cut off any part of the position detection patterns squares, it won’t.
  • NYC Resistor is an electronics hacking collective located in Downtown Brooklyn.
  • Some generators are simple.
  • And some have all kind of options.
  • Company trying to own QR in the US.“Many studies that have shown our markings can yield a significant increase in discoverability and scan rates”Maximum reach by making sure it works with most scanners out there (reverse engineer what scanners can read & use the most common subsets. This means what they choose to support tends to become the standard).
  • Metrics need to be paid attention to at the “create” stage, because different code generators provide different stuff.
  • Size: How big should they be? Huge on a billboard, small enough in print that you don’t have to move your hand superfar away.Is it the ad’s focal point? Or additional information?
  • Do they belong on TV or on a moving bus?Jimmy introduces Odd Future Trailer for HBO’s True Blood Season 3 – split second, exclusive trailer content – might work by WOM for cult fans
  • Codes that don’t work waste money, brand equity, and the user’s goodwill towards the technology.This code didn’t have the http, so most readers returned it as plain text instead of a URL
  • Worldwide:10%Germany 19% France & UK 185Rest of Western Europe: 36%
  • Smartphone owners command the majority of mkter’s attention, driving adoption (because it seems cool & you feel left out) targeted because they do more with device & spend more time messaging, gaming, listening to music, watching videos, social networking, shopping, using apps and browsing the we
  • Includes 1D scanning.Women UP 13% from September
  • Includes 1D scanning.Women UP 13% from September
  • What info, product, sevice do you have that is BEST DELIVERED to someone’s phone?
  • Engages users when & where they’re most interested.
  • Cannes Lion.Bonus points for essentially doubling site traffic & sales.No mobile site: maybe because it was 2009? No best practices yet? Com
  • MARKETING on a high level, but not a marketing campaign. Customer service. Best Buy redesigned their product tags with star-rating & lets users peruse the product ratings. That’s the one thing that slows me down when I’m buying electronics: the urge to go home first & read all the reviews. See star ratings on the tags.Email details to a friend who may be helping; compare features among products.Best Buy app has QR reader installed. Each store has its own codes, allowing for greater customization (not ready yet) (like how many are in stock) & amazing metrics (how interesting what products are where).
  • Smart of MTS, who are selling expensive smartphones & data plans, to show the cool & possibly indispensible things you could do with a smartphone.
  • AT THE POINT WHERE YOU WERE INTERESTED IT MADE THE CONNECTION. Rolex Miami Regatta – Olympic hopefuls. Feb 2011. Thought it was gimmicky but really, it’s a great quick method of connecting with someone you want to know more about. That little ‘like’ click lets you remember who they are, get them into your information stream, subscribe to their news. Easy enough to get rid of later if you decide they’re boring. Instead of impersonal website, it’s a chance to actually know these guys.Can you shoot this if it’s moving?!
  • Josh Nekrep Winnipeg 2 months 62 mobile scans
  • A person with a product, like an artist, can offer something. Brazil.
  • Canadian artist JeffTallon – resolves to Wikipedia for metacommentary.
  • Artisitc commentary: hiding in plain site. Like his artwork, subtly invading spaces.
  • There are competing systems, so to contexualize, let’s delve into the world of 2D barcodes for a minute.Handset manufacturers may be reluctant to preinstall QR readers until the 2D code wars are settled
  • 70 different types of bar codes!2D Barcodes. Most used = QR, Datamatrix (electronics) (ATT&T), & EZ code (Scanlife)Symbol in centre = orientation of scanner
  • Developed by Microsoft. Basis for Microsoft Tag mobile tagging app. 3500 char/sq inch.8, 4 or 2 colour (b&w) palette.
  • 2 billion tags have been printed since Jan 09 launch, appeared in 100 million magazines.Allure had 450,000 scans in annual Free Stuff Giveaway in August 2010.100,000 Tag accounts have been set up by advertisers.Has the Xbox platform as a channel to promote Tag use.
  • Stuffed Kinectimal comes with Microsoft Tag—scan to unlock his character in the game.Next-level Webkinz.
  • I’m just showing you these because they’re pretty & some of you are artists. This won’t be on the test. Hidden data in pictures is called steganography. Halftone dots at 45° always went in the same direct; Rob Tow @ Xerox figured you could orient some of them the other way to represent 1s & 0s. Colorzip/ColorCode: “aesthetically pleasing”; works in video, curved/clothing & at distance.
  • It costs 0.5¢ (U.S.) to provide a barcode, while passive Radio Frequency IdentificationRFID still costs about 7¢ to 30¢ per tag.RRID and near-field communication require a hardware investment that probably makes QR the best option for the next several years.“contactless” = mobile payments / RFID being rolled out NOW (before phones are even ready) because Visa wants it to happen – Mastercard Canada reports 25% higher spending Pay PassiPhone RFID skin, stickers with NFC tech, memory card into SD slots on other phones: Visa Paywave—Visa’s offering external memory card solution as a jumpstart so people don’t have to wait 2 yrs for new NFC phonesCoca-Cola Village Amusement Park / 650 teens at a time / “nonstop”
  • Voir QR: The History, Use & Abuse of QR Codes

    1. “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.”<br />— Wayne Gretzky<br />
    2. Well, that didn’t tell me much. Seriously, what are QR codes?<br /><ul><li> They’re a kind of bar code!
    3. Also called graphical tag, 2D bar code, or [chillingly] matrix code
    4. Developed by Toyota’s Denso Wave in 1996 to track car parts
    5. ISO standardized & open source</li></li></ul><li>What do QR codes do?<br /><ul><li> Store digital information on analogue media [IRL!]
    6. Paper [or any other real life item] - based hyperlinks</li></ul>[But they don’t necessarily need an internet connection]<br /><ul><li> Open a website, dial a phone number,read an RSS feed, send a text msg or email, schedule a calendar event, retrieve location data to help you get somewhere, share a contact card, download audio, and/or launch any app on your phone!</li></li></ul><li>
    7. How do you <br />scan a <br />QR code?<br /><ul><li>Whip out your phone
    8. Doesn’t need to be a smartphone
    9. Launch your reader
    10. Black berries & some Android phones come with software
    11. Many users will have to download an app
    12. Scan the code with your camera
    13. Enjoy magically delivered content</li></li></ul><li>All QR code readers are, sadly,not created equal. <br />
    14. Do you need an internet connection to make this magic happen?<br /><ul><li>Nope
    15. Data is encoded in the graphic itself ( “direct” code)
    16. Plain text can be returned where there’s no cell / wifi signal</li></li></ul><li>
    17. How much info can you pack in 1 of these puppies?<br />
    18. Making QR codes: all generators are [of course] not created equal.<br />Generators can produce different:<br /><ul><li>Capabilities [URLs, app store links, MP3s]
    19. Metrics / tracking
    20. Error correction levels
    21. Graphic customization
    22. Languages, sizes, URL shorteners, simultaneous Datamatrix generation...etc!</li></li></ul><li>
    23. QR codes provide great metrics.<br /><ul><li>Where are people scanning my code?
    24. Tells you whatad locations are effective
    25. Tells you which creative is working
    26. Tells you where you might want to do a pop-up store, flash mob,or other guerilla invasion
    27. When are people scanning my codes?
    28. Tells you what time of day your customer is active</li></li></ul><li>If you can’t afford fancy metrics...<br /><ul><li>You might use custom landing pages or PURLs</li></ul>or<br /><ul><li> Bit.ly & goo.gl URL shortenerslet you create & track QR codes
    29. Add “.qr” to the end of any shortened bit.ly or goo.gl link
    30. Goes to QR code that resolves to original link
    31. Allows for metrics including Google Analytics
    32. See how many “clicks”, phone OS, user path, etc </li></li></ul><li>
    33. TEST.<br /><ul><li>Scan your printed code
    34. Try several readers
    35. Try several phones
    36. Test all major OS’s
    37. Test in the light or other location conditions you expect scans to happen</li></li></ul><li>
    38. 28.2%<br />Increase in time spent with mobile devices in 2010<br />eMarketer<br />
    39. 300,000<br />Daily AndroidActivations<br />270,000<br />Daily iPhone Activations <br />Andy Rubin, Google, December 2010<br />Apple, October 2010<br />
    40. Demographics<br />Age<br />Income<br /><$50k<br />18%<br />$150-200k<br />16%<br />>$200k<br />10%<br />45-54<br />22%<br />55+<br />11%<br />< 18<br />5%<br />35-44<br />25%<br />$50-$100k<br />32%<br />18-24<br />16%<br />$100-$150k<br />24%<br />25-34<br />22%<br />Scanlife Mobile Trend Report, December 2010<br />Global data Oct 2010 – Dec 2010<br />
    41. Demographics<br />Gender<br />1 & 2D codes<br />QR codes<br />Female<br />30%<br />Female<br />64%<br />Male<br />70%<br />Male<br />36%<br />Scanlife Mobile Trend Report, December 2010<br />Global data Oct 2010 – Dec 2010<br />The Naked Facts: QR Barcode Scanning in 2H-2010 North American data July 2010 – Dec 2010<br />
    42. Mobile OS<br />Symbian<br />3%<br />J2ME<br />1%<br />Windows<br />Mobile<br />1%<br />iPhone<br />18%<br />Blackberry 23%<br />Android 54%<br />Scanlife Mobile Trend Report, December 2010<br />Global data Oct 2010 – Dec 2010<br />
    43. Barriers to adoption.<br /><ul><li>Poorly thought out campaigns turning people off
    44. Competing systems
    45. Lack of preinstalled code scanners
    46. Current smartphone penetration
    47. But not for much longer
    48. Unclear value proposition
    49. Not sure what you’re going to get
    50. Good ad copy can help with this</li></li></ul><li>
    51. “QR Campaigns are gimmick ridden at this point. They don't create naturally extended story experiences from the real world to mobile. They are wasting people's time & people will simply cease to engage with the technology before it goes mainstream in the States”—samiam22, comment on Mashable<br />
    52. You’ve got their attention, so don’t blow it.<br /><ul><li>The tag itself is not a call to action
    53. Tell people what they’re going to get
    54. Provide friendly instructions
    55. This is no place for interruption marketing
    56. Don’t make people watch a commercial
    57. Don’t waste their time with an inane experience
    58. Provide something very useful to thank them for interacting with your brand
    59. Give people contextual content—products/services that:
    60. Make sense at the time & place / is best delivered on their phone
    61. Can be delivered instantly
    62. Save the user time</li></li></ul><li>Context = location [what makes sense/is useful where I am now: transit update, historical photos]ORContext = phone-specific [perfect info to have on my phone: contact info, Google map] ORContext = conversion [what i want to do next: buy tickets, get a deal]ORContext = attention [I’m currently interested: entertain me with more info]<br />
    63. <ul><li> Design a mobile site/experience
    64. Optimize for all major mobile browsers
    65. Light, fast-loading graphics
    66. Big buttons & easy touch navigation
    67. Make contact with brand easy[phone, email, twitter]
    68. Make sure the internet is available where the audience will scan the tag [ie not the subway or airplane]
    69. Don’t leave them hanging at the end
    70. Lead people to what they should buy/join/like/visit/share</li></ul>“Scan resolve” best practices.<br />
    71. Competition: a bit of a browser war to muddy the waters.<br /><ul><li> QR Codes aren’t the only type of 2D bar code
    72. Wide adoption in Japan with proven uses helping them gain traction here [All phones come with readers, many with RFID shells!]
    73. Microsoft is trying to dominate North America with a proprietary system called Microsoft Tag
    74. ATT&T is doing the same thing with Datamatrix
    75. Other companies creating proprietary QR systems that require their reader
    76. Open source = no champions</li></li></ul><li>
    77. The upside <br />of Tag.<br />The non-upside <br />of Tag.<br /><ul><li>Excellentmetrics
    78. Location data heat map
    79. Password protectable
    80. Can set to expire
    81. “Editable” after the brochure has gone to print
    82. Microsoft resources promoting adoption
    83. Microsoft stores & controls your data
    84. Internet connection required
    85. Some URLs blacklisted
    86. Artistic customization makes them hard to recognize
    87. Fragments the market</li></li></ul><li>
    88. So...should you use QR codes?<br /> “There is no tipping point”<br /><ul><li>You don’t need to wait if you think your audience could benefit
    89. Educate them & experiment with it</li></ul> If it makes sense & you can deliver a useful experience, go for it<br /><ul><li>Already have mobile-ready Facebook page, YouTube</li></ul>**It’s your responsibility** as a marketer / lover of new media not to:<br /><ul><li>Let clients do inane or frustrating things with QR
    90. Turn people off the technology by wasting their time</li></li></ul><li>2d-code.co.uk <br />alphagraphics.com<br />alvarobarata02.wordpress.com<br />axissalon.com<br />bestbuy.ca<br />cakestudio.ca<br />calvinklein.com<br />Chris Lamberth<br />clikbrix.com<br />emarketer.com<br />emilystrange.com<br />garage.ca<br />hbo.com<br />i-nigma.com<br />jefftallon.com<br />jetblue.com<br />Kathleen Driscoll<br />kaikaikiki.co.jp<br />Matthew Shepherd<br />ming-ling.livejournal.com<br />miltoncontact.blogspot.com<br />mobioid.com<br />mts.ca<br />mytoys.de<br />nationalpost.com<br />nbc.com<br />NYC media<br />nycresistor.com<br />Oliver Spalt<br />pandemic-design.com<br />pfsk.com<br />qrarts.com<br />qranywhere.blogspot.com<br />retailgeek.com<br />scanlife.com<br />setjapan.com<br />socialqrcode.com<br />Sophia Sengsuriya<br />space-invaders.com<br />sparqcode.com<br />time.com<br />vibe.com<br />winnipegfreepress.com<br />