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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.

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 3.07.17 PMAs 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.

Bonus Link:
Business Insider: 15 Worst QR Code Fails of All Time