There has been a lot of buzz at conferences and in blogs and websites lately about QR Codes. The primary usage for marketers has been to link url's in various forms of advertising. For reading the barcode, most users must install specific software on the mobile device to be used in order to read the image. There are numerous devices available in the market with scanning capability, usually using the built in camera. Various software providers have applications that can be loaded onto phones that do not come with the functionality pre-installed, such as the iPhone.
Mobile tagging is the process of providing data on mobile devices, commonly through the use of a web address that has been encoded in a two-dimensional barcode that can be read and accessed using a camera phone and the devices web browser. The reason for the success of mobile tagging is the quick, precise and customer-driven access to specific content. There is no license required to use QR Codes.
QR Codes that contain a web address to a content specific landing page may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or just about any printed material. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. Users can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites.
The small picture generated can contain a vast amount of data. QR Codes can display 7,089 numeric characters and 4,296 alphanumeric characters. There are approximately a dozen types of codes and various readers available.
Is this just another gimmick for marketers to capture attention like drawing a name in the clouds or on the beach? Probably, but it may have good applications. Next, look for design tips on mobile applications when using QR codes.