Sunday, July 9, 2006

ATT: qr codes in america? Last December, I read an article that suggested that mobile bar codes were the future of advertising here in America. I posted QR code revisted explaining how behind the US was and that these ‘mobile bar codes’ have been popular in other parts of the world (namely Japan) for several years now. But today - something of note. Rudy De Waele of M-Trends brought this lifeblog post to my attention:

WINKsite: fusing the mobile and Web worlds through barcodes

(from the Lifeblog site) It’s a great way for me to promote my mobile site from the physical world, to provide access in a way that doesn’t require me to forward a link or have someone type it out. Dave has a great review of how QR codes are used in Japan. As he says, ‘QR Codes have become the door to the mobile Internet for the average mobile user’.

WINKsite is providing tools that make it easy for WINKsite publishers to create a barcode and display it, either on their website or on printed materials. Like Dave says, it completes the cycle from digital to real and back – ‘create mobile space, distribute code, people see code, scan and visit’.

Here is in QR format:

Gotomobile QR Code

This is exciting stuff. Carriers and operators (hey HELIO take note!) this is something that makes life easier, for marketing, for customers, for mobile folks on the go. On a post dated last month, Dave Harper comments “Mainstream America is Ready for Bar Codes - Converging “Realspace” and “Mobilespace.” In this insightful post, Dave states:

(from Dave Harper’s blog) One thing that has become obvious as of late is that along with educating people about the mobile Internet, it’s necessary to also offer tools that provide easy access to it. This is especially true when it comes to helping people discover and connect with off-portal mobile content and services. Part of this requires finding solutions that are successful at making connections between the physical world and mobile Internet.

Along with the QR code and Semacode, the other mobile code of note is ShotCode which is picking up (some) steam it seems throughout Europe. One mobile online software distributor (Getjar) reported more than 100,000 scans in 4 months. This seems to be a record outside of South Korea and Japan ‘as far as they know it.’

shotcode to trendwatching

Yes, there is a embedded code war about to emerge in America, and it will be interesting to see how carriers and operators (and device manufacturers) respond. Commenting on Dave Harper’s post, this Trendwatching article titled INFO LUST was referenced in the comments section, talking about traditional bar codes, SMS and MMS activation codes, Paperclick and ShotCodes along with something called mCode (which is like QR, only can be customized to work with your specific logomark or image). Finland has the UPCODE, Korea has the ColorCodes and it is obvious that the ability to instantly transfer embedded URLs along with music, graphics and more will soon be popping up on posters, flyers, ads, magazines and more. As the US gains traction in the 3G world and mobile web browsing picks up speed — say “hello” to one-touch marketing and even more lifestyle integration of mobile content and services.

Posted on May 4th, 2006 in Thoughts Tagged as , , , , , , , , Written by Kelly Goto

5 Responses to “qr codes in america?”


  1. Jim Levinger says:

    It is great to see this good review on code scanning. While code scanning is now a normal activity in Japan, it is just starting in Europe and in the US, with huge growth potential. We have worked with all of the industrial 2D code formats such as QR and Data matrix and found that they are not optimial for camera phones, mobile sevices, and consumer applications. The codes are too big, too inflexible for many applications and handsets. Note that in Japan phones that read QR codes have special optics that are not available in other countries.

    As a result, we developed mCode. It is optimized for mobile phone applications and standard camera phones. Plus it is vastly more flexible than traditional codes and carries much more data than codes such as Shotcode or Colorcode.

    To learn more go to , there is a free code creation tool and free reader software.

  2. Roger says:

    Jim, —-Disclaimer: we will soon bring a free QR Code Reader for mobile phones (first Sony Ericsson and Nokia) on the market. In about 2 weeks time. *—-

    I am not of the same opinion. QR-Codes can be used on paper in a size of approx. 2 cm for today’s Europe and US phones.

    Today there are possibilities to keep the QR code quite small as well. Nevertheless we leave it to the user to make the code he needs for URL (ex., text, SMS, and phone numbers unless he uses mobile blogs etc. directly from Kaywa. You can already create your QR Codes here:

    You can see an example of such a code readable from 12” Powerbook on my blog (check the right navigation panel): it encodes

    As Japan, Taiwan and other asian countries paved the way, we just should follow it and not trying to create other formats. It will only confuse customers.

    Also: QR Codes as Datamatrix are both ISO-Standards and I don’t think it makes sense to invent an other standard.

    Best Roger

    PS: I also think that in 2 years, macro functions for our handsets will become common place and then we can use even smaller sizes.

  3. Roger says:

    Hi there, We just launched the Kaywa Reader for Nokia Series 60 phones. Go to:

  4. Kelly Goto says:

    Roger, nice to see this launch! We’ll try and test it out… I like the concept of “macro functions” on phones and hope to see more of these features/services defined..

  5. Kelly Goto says:

    Roger - not yet supported (Sony Ericsson P910a) but have registered and am very excited to see this coming out! Firefox also has an extension that creates QR codes for web pages ‘on the fly’ that is very exciting.

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