By B.L. Ochman
I was a big, early, proponent of QR Codes, but they are history! Invisible ink and augmented reality apps are replacing clunky QR Codes.
The new technology is superior in that you don’t have to take a picture of the code, which then records your contact information and sends you to a website, video or document, or sends you a text message giving a web address. With the new apps, you just run your smartphone over the content and get the enhanced features immediately.
Here’s a sampling of the new technologies will surely supplant QR Codes, permanently.
As Springspotter reports, the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun has launched the AR News app, which enables kids to scan articles with their smartphones and reveal more kid-friendly versions of current affairs.
The app was developed by Dentsu, which was challenged to create a new way to make newspapers appealing to younger readers. Articles suitable for children are printed with blue borders. Using AR News ap, readers who place tablets or smartphones over those articles reveal a simplified Japanese alphabet for those still learning to read, along with animated characters and graphics, pop-up headlines and explanations that make the topics easier for kids to understand.
Blippar, is a new mobile app which lets users literally ‘pull’ information, entertainment, offers and augmented reality 3D experiences out of the world around them, simply by holding their phone up to a marker. No clicks, no delays, no codes, says Crunchbase: just instant gratification.
Another new technology, Touchcode, is an invisible electronic code printed on paper, cardboard, film or labels. It adds interactivity to just about any product. When you touch your smartphone/tablet to it tickets sing, toys come to life, you can confirm the authenticity of a brand, or add interactivity to just about any product.
Besides the awesome video technology, the concepts and demonstrations in this Touchcode video are extraordinary. Items imprinted with Touchcode’s invisible ink look no different from standard print products, until you touch them with your smartphone.
Here’s how Touchcode describes the technology:
“Touchcode is an invisible electronic code printed on paper, cardboard, film or labels. Just put the product on the display of your smartphone/tablet/multitouch device to read the data – no matter if you’d like to confirm the authenticity of your brand product or make your card game come to life. With Touchcode, you add interactivity to just about any product.”
What are the lessons of QR for brands using the new technologies?
- Make it easy for consumers to use.
- Explain how it works, in clear, concise language.
- Employ it only when it can add something unique to the user experience.
- Make sure content or ads that contain it won’t be put in places where cellphone service is unavailable.
- Make the apps available only for situations when using them makes sense.
It will be fascinating to see whether these new technologies are used both creatively and effectively. The potential is vast.
Business Insider: 15 Worst QR Code Fails of All Time
I disagree about these applications making QRCodes “history.”
Dentsu created the QRCode and I assume they would like to see the next generation provide them with direct income. The AR news app is an interesting app, however, it is a specialized application.
Blippr is also a specialized AR application that has a limited brand library.
TouchCode is a interesting idea, creating a capacitive screen on a paper that is read, however, it requires specialized apps for various uses. There is not a “touchcode reader app” that is universal.
These will not make QRCodes “history” as there are lots of barriers for acceptance. QRCodes, while far from perfect, can be created by any for just about anything in a matter of seconds for virtually no cost. Almost all QRCode readers support the wide range of data types provided via QRCodes and them pass them to the device to handle as needed (such as phone numbers, web URLs, addresses and more.)
The mentioned apps in your article give an expanded user experience however, I believe they do not have what is needed to take QR Codes to the next level.
Actually, the QR code was invented in 1984 by Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota in Japan, to track parts in vehicle manufacturing.
Of course these are specialized applications because these technologies are new in marketing.
The problem with QR Codes is that they require the download of a reader. And readers are still an overly complicated requirement for an awful lot of consumers.
In 2007, when I said Twitter was going to be huge for marketing, I was practically tarred and feathered by a lot of people who have since apologized and/or become power users. So, I’m used to people disagreeing with me when I spot technology that I think will be big.
Thank you for taking the time to comment. Please feel free to continue this conversation with me in a year or two when we can see who was right. :)
In either case, don’t you have to download an app? Yes, you need to download an app to read QR codes (I use Google Goggles on my Android phone, which has additional capabilities), but Japanese kids have to download an AR app to see the more kid-friendly story versions, and it appears that the augmented experiences require the Blippar app.
Perhaps the QR code identification experience can be streamlined, although frankly I think that Google Goggles does a pretty good job of automatically interpreting QR codes.
I’ll reserve commenting on Touchcode until I’ve seen the video – I still need to understand how information can be helpful if you don’t know that it’s there.
yes, you are right – you have to download an app for all of these, and I’ve clarified that in the post.
As for knowing the info is there – that’s going to be the job of marketers.
No mention is made of how to tell when an invisible touchcode is printed on an object, or page, and how trackable are these codes for marketers and advertisers, etc?
QR code readers aren’t complicated once you actually use one. I suspect it’s probably more the notion of using one that intimidates many reticent smartphone users. It’s also why so many feature phone users still resist switching to smartphones.
I think we’re still some way off seeing QR codes hit their stride. We’ll be seeing and using them for some time to come. Adoption still lags well behind innovation.
The problems we’ve had with QR codes and newsprint is the reproduction quality and the reader. Since newsprint absorbs ink, sometimes the intricacy of the pattern make it difficult to publish. There are all kinds of sensing apps being produced and already in market. Just look at how smartphones are being used in the medical field.
I think the touchcode would be beneficial if they could post a symbol somewhere in the copy to let the user know that there is more information there, like hmmmmmmmmmmm……..maybe a QR code.
on the newspaper one, the articles you can scan are outlined in Blue.
They said mini discs will replace CD’s (half the size of CD’s), they said Blueray will replace DVD’s. They said Gaming consoles will replace PC’s.
People are always on about things replacing other things. However, very few things replace those things that they want to replace, or supposed to replace.
Next you’ll be telling me that mobile phones are going to be replaced by gadgets implanted into my hand? Bonkers really.
I was born in 1981. I have seen a lot of technology come and go. And still majority of stuff they say they were replacing, they don’t. In fact, they come out, said they are replacing this and that, then the disappear like melted ice.
I never believe in anything that comes out anymore that gives outrageous claims they are going to replace this and that.
In my experience, 99% never last 2 years, and if they do last more than 2 years, they are just an addition to the other thing they are supposed to replace. For example, Blueray and DVD’s.