QR Coder 2010 is a much needed add-in allows you to generate QR codes directly from Outlook with a couple of clicks. No need to cut and paste your information into a webpage, it can extract all your details without you needing to hit the keyboard.
Simply download from here and install:
(Note that it requires .NET 4.0 and insists on installing it – even if you already have it installed on your PC. It also requires an internet connection as it uses google to generate the QR Code)
Now, when you view a contact card, you have a new button under the add-ins menu (and it is only active when the contact card is open, not just selected)
Clicking it brings up a rather cryptic dialogue box. Basically, if you choose ‘yes’, it will use the Business address. If you choose ‘No’, it will choose the Home a address instead (unless the Home address is blank, then it will use the Business address).
After you make your selection, the QR Code appears, with the option to paste to the clipboard, or to save as a file (bmp/gif/jpg/png)
One important factor to be aware of is that it saves the contacts in the MECARD format, which as discussed elsewhere, can only hold an abbreviated version of a .vcf – the sort of details that you would get from a paper business card, or that you are likely to need for your smartphone.
The software has a version 1.0 feel to it – it could definitely be a little slicker – the only way to see what information is actually in the generated QR Code is to decode it with your phone, or a PC-based decoder, or uploading it to a website-based decoder – none of which are ideal. Still, as it is free for personal use (and only USD2.00 for business), it seems a bit petty to complain.
An implementation of QR Codes as the portal to an ordering/payment website for takeout food. The QR Code is displayed on the menu leaflet of takeout restaurants and after scanning, the user is directed to an ordering page for choosing their food order, which is then emailed/faxed to the restaurant.
As the QR Code itself is very easy to generate (as I hope I have shown you), the real value in this setup is that Paperlinks is arranging the web portion of this process – so this is really only suitable for outlets who haven’t created their own ordering webpage.
http://www.paperlinks.com/ seems to offer more than just this service – their packages include landing pages, analyticals and QR Code design.
A genuinely-useful implementation of QR Codes has been announced by a Market Research company, Mindshare Technologies. In summary, QR Codes are added to POS displays in stores, which lead to smartphone-optimised customer surveys.
The clever part is that the retailer will get feedback from the customer at the time of their interaction with the store, while their opinions and emotions are fresh. If you wait until the customer has gotten home, you are only receiving their remembered and faded impressions of their experience.
Of course, for this to work, there has to be some kind of carrot – I rapidly get bored of answering customer questionnaires on how clean I felt the toilets were (on a scale of 1-10) and I better something in return for my efforts.
Codee Software announced the release of a first of its kind QR code product for consumers. Codee Interactive adds a new dimension to the exciting world of Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, and other popular web sites by providing physical links to the web via scannable QR codes owned by the consumer.
Signing up (and paying USD29.95 per year), gives the user a customisable landing page, with the usual links to Twitter, Facebook etc. It also allows the user to chose an automatic action for the scanner – running a YouTube video, ‘Liking’ a facebook or even dialling a phone number or sending an SMS text. The range of options and customisability sets it apart from other options.
This wins a ‘why isn’t anyone else doing this’ award, as after paying your subscription, you will receive 47 vinyl stickers with your Codee QR Code on them. This is a very clever idea – after all, what is the point of having your own QR Code to share with others, if it is a hassle to share the code? Instead of the having to print out your QR Code (always more fiddly than it should be), then cut them to size, then work out how to make them adhesive and then apply some protective lamination, you can simply peel and stick.
The Codee website is fun and ‘cool’ and will appeal to the type of person that would most likely use this type of service.
California: Toyota Financial Services (TFS) launches an iPhone app for bill payment. The clever part is ‘Unlike other bill payer apps, customers who download the TFS app may use their smart phone or iPad2 to simply scan a personalized QR code found on their billing statement and have instant access to their account. While utilizing the QR code is not required to use the app, it does speed the process of paying via a mobile device. … an option that would give them immediate access to their accounts, even if they’ve never registered on-line prior to downloading the app’
This apparently small difference is actually pretty significant and highlights a very real benefit of the QR Code. Registration processes are always tedious and can dissuade users from using such software on a phone – the phone is not really a suitable interface for manually-entering large amounts of data,(that is something that you should use a full-sized computer for) Allowing the phone to grab the required data from a printed bill means that this step can be skipped entirely – making it faster and more accurate.
You could, of course, have a similar system with the home computer, where the registration info is read from the printed bill – except that so few home computers are able to read printed materials. Technically, it is not difficult (either via a webcam or a flatbed scanner), but there seems to be no commonly-used standard method.
TFS launched a video, highlighting the apps benefits to its users: http://youtu.be/fPsxD4rSVfc
The press release also shares some interesting market research:
- 20% of consumers who own an Internet-capable phone use it to pay bills (NACHA)
- 62% of those customers went directly to the billers’ website (NACHA)
- 88% of the U.S. population (270 million) will have a mobile phone subscription by 2014 (Forrester)
- Mobile Internet usage is expected to grow from 52 million in 2009 to 106 million in 2014 (Forrester)
- Over $200 billion in payments will be collected via mobile devices by 2015 (Forrester)
- Forrester also expects that nearly 18% of customers who currently don’t bank on-line will be using mobile banking to access their accounts in the future.
With what must be a contender for most marketing speak in a single press release, Mercatus announces their QR Code enabled mobile apps:
Mobile technology revolutionizes the retail industry by changing how and when consumers interact with brands. With Concierge for Mobile, retailers enable customers to leverage the brand’s interactive mobile app to quickly and conveniently sign up for a loyalty account to manage their shopping list, digital coupons, promotions, and more. And now with the addition of NFC and QR code technologies, retailers put their customers in control and satisfy their desire for immediate information about their products.
Which basically means that customers at a shop can scan a QR Code and download a mobile loyalty app for their phone. What the app actually offers the users, depends on the implemation chosen by that particular shop – a half-assed effort is going to quickly get deleted, but something that offers real benefits to the user could be of great interest. Of course, this all falls down if the enrolement process is much more complicated than scanning the QR Code – I certainly can’t be bothered to enter all my personal information into an app, whilst trying to shop.
Kimtag announces a product that falls into the ‘why didn’t anyone think of this before’ category: a sticker that combines both NFC and QR Codes. It’s a great solution to the problem of NFC – simply that if hardly anyone has the ability, or desire, to decode them, then you have wasted an opportunity. This allows the same promotional work to be utilised by those with simple smartphones.
Kimtag itself is a neat little portal: sign up and the QR code will point to a simple webpage, with clear icons to point to your Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc. If you want to share all your social media links, without the hassle of creating your own, specific landing page, this site looks like an option for you.