Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Gearbox Software Uses QR Codes

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

There is so much to be said about how QR codes are perfect for some cases. In these situations, QR codes are the only way to go.

Unlike near-field communication, QR codes are visual, which makes them perfect for video games and television commercials. You simply cannot do that with NFC! This is the reason why we often find QR code Easter eggs in many games. When you scan the QR code, it could be something valuable to the game or just some silly message from the developers.

But there is a better use for QR codes, and that is drumming up interest for your video game.

Gearbox Software is using QR codes to make their game, Borderlands 2, even more exciting. They call it Loot the World, and you can download the mobile app from either the iStore or Google Play. The premise for the app is rather simple.

Scan ANY QR code and you will get a free item in the app. Yes, that right, scan a QR code and you get fire armors, even sniper rifles and other items that you find in the game.

The idea is to find QR codes from everyday items. For example, you could scan a QR code that you see on a newspaper advertisement. If you get a flaming sword for that scan, everybody who scans the same newspaper ad will get the same item as you did. Plus it does not matter where you find the QR code, you will get an item for scanning it.

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This is a great way to drum up interest in your video game. Now even those who have not played Borderlands 2 can get the app and hunt for treasure in everyday objects. They will see the weapons and items found in the game and hopefully, this will pique their interest enough to try out the game.

Plus, this is proof that you can still get creative with QR codes. This is probably the first time that we have seen QR codes used like this!

Tesco Uses QR Codes and Augmented Reality

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

In the United Kingdom, Tesco is using both augmented reality and QR codes to help people with their holiday shopping.

Now Tesco customers could find out more about the products on the window displays and even buy them right then and there, without needing to enter the store.

Several products are on display, including some gift ideas such as bicycles for children, toys, and homeward. All people need to do is to scan a QR code and get the catalog. Or they could train their cameras on these codes and augmented reality comes in to show the product to interested customers. If they like what they see, they can buy the item and get it from the store in 24 hours.

Tesco has been a leading innovator in the highly competitive UK grocery industry. They have been testing out new technology and new campaigns over the past few months.

Also, you will remember that Tesco’s South Korean arm was one of the first to offer people a virtual store experience. Tesco South Korea put up pictures of their products in the country’s subway. Next to the pictures were QR codes that people can scan if they want to buy a corresponding item. They could either pick it up at the store or have it delivered to their homes or offices. Talk about convenience of being able to do your groceries without going to the store.

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This time, they allow you to bypass long lines that are typical of shopping during the holidays. You do not have to worry about going into the store, elbowing your way through the crowd and staying in long lines to pay. You can just stay outside, scan the QR code, see a 3D rendering of the product and buy it there. Then go on your way and do more Christmas shopping or have a latte while waiting for your purchase to be ready.

Scanning QR Codes for Art

Tuesday, December 17th, 2013

We have seen QR codes being used in art. Sometimes, it is used simply as a way to give out more information about the artwork or the artist. There are also pieces where QR codes are incorporated into the artwork itself. It could either be subtle details, or it could be a QR code mosaic.

In all the examples we have seen so far, viewers can scan the QR code and get taken to a Web site that the artist has chosen.

But what if it is the other way around? When you display a QR code to see the artwork?

Photographer Jaime Scatena is also an artist that combines technology and art. Instead of displaying his animated gif art on boring computers, Leroy opted to display QR codes at a Parisian gallery.

Scatena says that he is furthering Henri Cartier-Bresson’s decisive moment concept. But instead of just finding one moment that best represents an event, Scatena looks for what he calls a continuous moment.

Thus the animated gif format.

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But the problem with animated gifs is that you cannot print it out in the real world and have the animations displayed on some gallery’s wall. To show his works, the animated gifs need to be placed behind a QR code.

Of course, you could use smartphones and tablets for the purpose. But this would entail a very big investment on the part of the artist or the gallery. On the other hand, QR codes are free and easy to create. Plus you really do not have to worry about the tablet or mobile devices getting lost.

Another thing is that these QR codes may also be used in press releases as well. If you want to drum up interest in your works and your exhibit, you certainly would want mainstream media and blogs to cover your event and announce it to their readers. The QR codes would be a very convenient way to give everyone a sneak peek, even those on print media.

Two Unusual Uses of QR Codes

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

If you think you have seen it all when it comes to QR codes, then think again.

QR codes are so flexible that the only thing that limits it is your imagination. Just take for instance how Jessica Krannitz used QR codes to show people some sort of graffiti art without having to deface public property!

Jessica Krannitz is using QR codes to make her art unique and one-of-a-kind. A graduate of Texas A&M, Krannitz is currently exhibiting her QR graffiti works.

Over the past few years, Krannitz has been doing some light painting on some public areas. It could be a toilet stall, a wall, or even a building.

After some time, she creates a QR codes and leaves them at the same places where she had her graffiti. When you scan the code that is the only time you see her artwork.

Krannitz has around 30 QR codes spread all over the campus and in downtown Bryan.

So all you have to do to see her light paintings is to scan the QR codes!

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Kennards Hire Uses QR Codes

Kennards Hire is a premiere rental company in Australia. And they are using QR codes to make their equipment safer for users.

Kennards Hire is putting QR codes on their equipment, especially those belonging to the Pump and Power, Lift and Shift, Concrete Care, and Traffic segments.

The QR codes would detail the equipment’s maintenance history and service records. This would help them determine whether the machinery is still safe to use or whether it needs some maintenance work.

For new users, the QR codes would also help them find the user manual. This way, they can go over what they need to know before operating the machine. The QR codes can also provide information about examination certification and tests done on the machine, as well as maintenance schedules.

These QR codes are accessible using your smartphone, ensuring that you do not need special equipment to use the QR codes.

QR Codes Show up on Business Licenses in Petaling Jaya

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

In Malaysia, businesses in Petaling Jaya are required to get a new business license. The new business licenses include sticker with a QR code on them.

More than 50,000 establishments now have the QR coded stickers. Businesses need to have the QR code stickers in addition to the license that is issued by the Petaling Jaya City Council.

The QR codes contain the business name, the trader’s name, the address, license period and the nature of business.

The QR codes are the brainchild of Datin Paduka Alinah Ahmad, the mayor of Petaling Jaya and Sharinaz Shamsudin who is the deputy director of the city council’s Licensing Department. The mayor says that he hopes that the QR codes would make it easier for enforcement officers and the public to get more information about the businesses they are patronizing.

It would also help them know if a license is fake or not. In fact, the QR codes are part of the Let’s Pay Our License campaign for 2014.

There are also plans to expand the QR codes’ use. For businesses that are in the food, cybercafe and beauty industries, employees would be given a special identification card. These ID cards would help the government know for sure that all employees of these companies are indeed locals, not foreign workers. Foreign workers are not allowed to work in these industries.

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This is a great move, but there are rooms for improvement.

For one, it seems that the initiative is not that welcome with businesses. On top of the additional fees that businesses have to pay for, there are people who say that these are actually useless. The old licenses have a photo of the trader, as well as the same information that the QR code stickers provided. So having a QR code repeat the same things about the business is wrong.

The council could have easily put up more information about the business behind the QR code. For example, are there any complaints against the business or have there been any environmental issues with the business. Has it passed sanitary inspections, or is it tax compliant? These are good information to share with customers that way they know whether the business is kosher.

QR Codes That Help You with Your Business (Part 2)

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

QR codes can help you sell more while also helping you save on costs. In this series, we are showing you how QR codes could enhance your marketing efforts so that you could sell more.

In Part 1, we have mentioned how QR codes can demonstrate the various benefits of your product and show consumers how it works, as well as how QR codes can show people that you care about your community and how you are giving back.

Now, here are more.

3. QR Codes can help people focus on positive social media activities.

Social media is a strong source of new customers. Add a QR code that allows your customers to add you on Facebook. Perhaps they would like to recommend your products to their friends, and perhaps doing this on Facebook would be a lot easier for them. So a QR code that connects you to your customers in FB would allow them to do just that. If Facebook and other social media sites is not your cup of tea, then you can simply direct them to Yelp, TripAdvisor or other review sites where you can get positive feedback from your old customers. This will help you build trust with people who do not have experience with your brand yet.

4. QR Codes can help you give instructions.

You can use a QR code to make printed manuals obsolete. If your product needs to be assembled, create a video showing the process and then put it behind a QR code. Not only will you be helping your customers to better understand how to properly assemble your products, but you would also save on paper and printing costs.

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5. Share creative ideas for your products.

If you sell something, people might see it as good for only a singular purpose. Maybe you should be helping your customers become more creative with your products. For example, if you sell cardboard folder holders, you might want to show them how to turn these into floating shelves.

This is especially useful if you sell food. You can come up with videos showing your customers different ways to cook food using your product as one of the ingredients. Or you could show them fun crafts and suggestions on what to do with your packaging. For example, you can turn potato chip canisters into ultra cool toy lighthouses for the kids.

What other ideas do you have? Let us know in the comments!

QR Codes That Help You with Your Business (Part 1)

Thursday, December 5th, 2013

We have said this time and again: QR codes can help you in running your business.

Mind you, QR codes are not just good for marketing. It could also help you sell more of your products while also helping you save on operational costs.

When it comes to your business, how can QR codes help?

1. QR Codes can replace the demo guy.

If you have products that users would need a demonstration for, such as those you see on late night as-seen-on-TV commercials, then you should definitely use QR codes. Instead of getting somebody to do in-store demos, you can just put a QR code up on the product packaging and tell your customers to “see how it works!”

The QR code would take your customers to YouTube videos where they could see your product in action!

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2. QR Codes help people know yours is a socially responsible business.

Being a socially responsible business is always a plus point for any company. It paints you as a company that actually cares about giving back to the community more than the money you earn.

For instance, if you sell Children’s clothes and you promised to donate a portion of the sales to a worthwhile cause, charity or orphanage, you can use a QR code to show people just how much you are donating. You could show a running tally of all the proceeds.

If you support a local organization, then use QR codes to show people how you are helping. Perhaps a video of you and your employees planting trees or building a house for Habitat for Humanity.

There are just two ways on how QR codes could make your products sell better, without spending too much on advertising, marketing and promotions. There are some more ways on how QR codes could help you with your business, so stay tuned!

QR Codes Used in Robotics

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

One of the biggest challenges in navigating robots is making the machines become aware of their location. In short, how does a robot know where it is and where to go, as well as how to get there?

This has baffled robotics experts for a very long time, often coming up with complicated and highly technical solutions. But what if we tell you that you could use a QR code to help robots become aware of their locations?

In the past, one of the ways for robots to identify their location is via near-field communication or radio frequency signals. One of the real-world applications for this was seen at a McDonald’s restaurant in Singapore.

According to the NFCMe.com report, McDonald’s used NFC for its Happy Table campaign, where kids can tap their smartphones on the table to play a racing game. When they hold the smartphone over the table, a car appears on their screens. They would need to move the phone all over the table to finish the course. The table was set up with a series of NFC chips, and if you do not hit the next NFC chip, that means it is game over for you as you crash to the side of the road or fall off a cliff.

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That might be an easier way, but there is something much easier than that: using QR codes.

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Fitted with a camera, robots could be programmed to read QR codes. The QR code would contain information on the location and the robot would be able to know where it is. For example, scanning a QR code on the living room the software could tell the robot that the refrigerator is on the left and the next room is the kitchen. This will allow the robot to go to where it is supposed to go.

As early as now, Aldebaran Robotics is already working on the idea. You can see it from this YouTube clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8m4wH2aO68

MasterCard Uses QR Codes for Mobile Payment App QkR

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Mobile payments is an exciting area. Understandably, credit card companies, banks, financial institutions and payment services are scrambling to come up with their own mobile payment systems.

MasterCard has been one of those companies that have delved into the mobile payment space. Its latest offering is called QkR, which uses QR codes and a mobile app.

How does it work? A customer sees a QR code and scans it. The QR code will then show the user a list of products and services that are on offer.

MasterCard has already tested the application in the real world in Australia. With cooperation from La Premiere cinemas, MasterCard put up QR codes on the theater’s arm rests. Moviegoer can scan the QR code and they can order food and drinks, which will be delivered right to their seats. Similar trials were held in New York and Ireland.

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So you see, QR codes are expanding in terms of their usefulness. A code is no longer confined to merely helping business owners market their products and engage their customers, but it can also help them sell. This is positive proof that QR codes are far from being dead and are in fact still very useful. Ignore QR codes at your own risk!

The MasterCard QkR project is also noteworthy in another aspect: it brings several technologies together. We have already discussed QR codes, but the system is also compatible with near-field communication. Instead of scanning a QR code, you can simply tap your smartphone and get the same offers and deals. Plans are also underway to support audio cues and the same technology that powers Microsoft Xbox Kinect. For instance, you can set your phone to “listen” to a particular TV show. If that TV show plays a snippet of sound that your smartphone picks up, it will take you to the corresponding information that the TV show wants you to access.

Meanwhile, MasterCard also thinks that you can purchase stuff using gestures. Perhaps, signing your name in the air would validate your purchase.

All of these are possible on the QkR platform.

Two Console Stories with NFC and QR Codes

Thursday, November 28th, 2013

Video games are getting smarter and they are going wireless.

Is it any surprise that video game console manufacturers are using connectivity technologies such as QR codes and near-field communication?

For instance, Nintendo’s Wii U GamePad makes use of NFC to add value to the controller. Granted that there is only one game available that makes use of the NFC functions built into the Wii U: Pokemon Rumble U. It involves real life toys that you can connect to the game. All you have to do is to tap the toy to your controller and it shows up in the game as your character. You can wait for the characters while you play the game, but buying the NFC figures will give you a stronger version of the character, making your game a little bit easier.

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And then there is the Xbox One. When Xbox One was launched, the console was snatched by over one million people on its first day alone. Not bad, considering that the only people who got the consoles are those who pre-ordered them.

As you all know, the Xbox One is featuring the new achievements setup. There are in-game achievements and media achievements. Another is the special Day One achievement.

Now this Day One achievement and a different controller are given only to those who pre-ordered. Sort of a special surprise for them. The Day One achievement is unlocked by scanning a QR code that is included in the box.

It used to be that people needed to use their controllers to enter long codes. Now all you have to do is to scan the QR code using your Kinect.

Some people are reportedly selling the achievement on eBay for an average of $40. The funny thing is that some of these sellers are showing the QR codes with their pictures. Here’s to hoping nobody would scan those pictures and unlock the achievement without having to pay for it!