Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

Instagram to Utilize QR Codes

Posted on April 6th, 2018 by

On March 21, 2018, TechCrunch reported that Instagram may be looking to copy Snapchat’s QR code scanning feature. This belief is based on an analysis of the files buried in the Instagram Android app files. Referred to as “Nametag Scan” in the files, the feature could allow for users to be able to scan QR codes that would then send users to profiles of individuals or businesses.

Interestingly, it was a TechCrunch reader who discovered the files and provided them to the outlet. It is further reported by TechCrunch that the code in the Instagram files appears to allow users to add stickers and selfies to their nametag. The article states: “Text detailing ‘Open this photo in the stories camera to follow’ appears in the code. That means nametags would work just like Snapchat’s QRs, and the shutter image above is likely going to be a Stories camera option like Boomerang or Super Zoom, which all have their own shutter icons. The nametag scanning feature could eventually launch under a different name like Focus did. It would be a boon to businesses and social stars looking to visually promote their accounts both online and in physical print materials. It also could assist users with long or complex usernames by making it easier for friends to follow them.”

Instagram also officially announced on March 21st that the company released an update that introduced two new features to the app: the ability to add hashtags and profile links to a user’s bio. These updates will allow for users to further express themselves within the profile beyond their bio and website link. Instagram stated that “with hashtag and profile links in your bio, you can express yourself and your interests right in your profile. Whether you’re a #guitarlover, into #pencilsketching or have a #makeuptutorial account, now you can link to any hashtag or profile you want.”

We are happy to see these added features to the Instagram app, and we patiently (and anxiously) await a formal announcement regarding the QR codes.

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , Read more by

Facebook Messenger QR Codes Link Up with MasterCard

Posted on March 18th, 2018 by

Mastercard is one of the largest credit card companies in the world and has announced that it will launch a Masterpass QR bot on Facebook Messenger in Nigeria, allowing the businesses in that country to set up digital money accounts to accept payments via QR codes. Masterpass QR will allow customers to accept or make purchases using their cell phones without needing cash or a physical credit card. To accomplish this initiative in Nigeria, Mastercard has partnered with Ecobank and Zenith Bank. “Every business owner is looking for ways to increase sales and draw new customers into their stores. By offering QR-based digital payments, smaller retailers can achieve these goals and create greater customer stickiness with little to no investment beyond the phone they already have,” said Jorn Lambert, executive vice president, Digital Channels and Regions, Mastercard. Masterpass QR opens up new channels of commerce for Nigeria’s businesses and enables them to create auditable transaction records, likely opening doors to other financial products such as loans to drive added growth.

For those interested in using this process, they just need to send a request to the Facebook bot to enable QR payments, receive approval from the bank, and set up an account. Once this is set up, business owners can begin accepting digital payments. Owners can print and display their specific QR code in their store enabling payments to be made by customers simply by scanning the code with their smartphone. Customers will also be able to pull up a QR code on their smartphone that can be scanned by the business. Once the QR code has been scanned, the online payment will be processed through the Mastercard network using M/Chip technology and the secure EMV infrastructure that retailers already have in place. The QR codes to be scanned will be governed under a common set of universal standards. Indeed, Mastercard worked with EMVCo to create standards designed to ensure consistency in the QR codes generated and captured on a consumer’s smartphone.

This latest development in payments via QR code has Mastercard enthusiastic as the company looks to advance the technology and expand its usage globally. “Today’s news builds on the momentum of our QR work in India and Africa,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of global enterprise risk and security for MasterCard. “We look forward to the adoption of the EMVCo global QR standards. In the meantime, we’ll continue to work with our customers and partners to make every device a secure way to pay and be paid.” Bhalla continued.

Currently, Mastercard is one of the four major credit card networks in the United States along with Visa, American Express, and Discover, and Mastercard and Visa have significant advantage in terms of acceptance worldwide. Mastercard had just under 32% of the number of cards in circulation at the end of 2016, and is said to have 25% of the total U.S. market share of purchase volume in 2017. With Mastercard and EMVCo pushing for adoption of their standards and payments technology on a global scale, it seems entirely possible that this sort of payment ability will soon may make its way to the United States. We patiently (and excitedly) await its arrival!

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , Read more by

Tech Medicine - Edible QR Codes

Posted on March 12th, 2018 by

Who’s hungry…for a QR Code? It’s been very intriguing to read about the newest technological advancement in medicine – edible QR Codes. Though it will not satisfy your hunger, the drugs via edible QR Codes will deliver necessary and tailored drug amounts to the individual eating the code. A recent study by researchers at the University of Copenhagen, along with colleagues from Abo Akademi University in Finland, have developed a white edible material with which they have successfully printed a QR Code consisting of a drug. Now, some of you may be envisioning something like Willy Wonka’s everlasting gobstopper machine from the 1971 classic, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, cranking out little bits of medicine on paper. But, in fact, the researchers actually adapted inkjet printing technology to print the edible QR Codes that contain a dose of medicine adjusted for the particular needs of the patient.

Wow. It’s one thing to just be able to print edible medicine. It’s an even further step to be able to print medicine as a QR Code. The technology is said to be very promising, because the medical drug can be dosed exactly the way patients need it to be. The perfect amount of one or more drugs can be incorporated into a single printed QR Code, thereby reducing the number of different pills a patient needs to take separately. This also eliminates the problem of a dose being rounded up or down to the nearest amount that is put in the typical pill. Edible QR Codes gives healthcare professionals an opportunity to tailor the medication specifically to the patient taking it. This new way to administer drugs enables doctors and patients alike to have a better understanding of the drugs ingested – the shape of the QR Code enables the storage of data about the drug in the drug itself, where a simple scan can bring up all pertinent information about the drug.

While the information and data provided by an edible QR Code will prove highly beneficial, there are some issues that will need to be addressed. First, the patients will need to have the ability to scan the QR Code. Luckily, most everyone today has a smart phone that is capable of reading such codes. Additionally, there is concern that the medicinal QR Codes may fade over time. While further research on light, temperature, and humidity resistance will need to take place, preliminary testing showed that printed codes exposed to humidity were still readable, as long as the codes were kept flat when printed and were not creased or wrinkled prior to scanning.

“Simply doing a quick scan, you can get all the information about the pharmaceutical product. In that sense it can potentially reduce cases of wrong medication and fake medicine,” said Natalja Genina, an assistant professor at the Department of Pharmacy at the University of Copenhagen. It is possible that this study could one day allow a regular printer to be able to apply the medical drug in the pattern of a QR code, while the edible material is produced in advance to allow on-demand production of medical drug near end-users.

“If we are successful with applying this production method to relatively simple printers, then it can enable the innovative production of personalized medicine and rethinking of the whole supply chain,” says professor Jukka Rantanen from the Department of Pharmacy. Fascinating development.

 

Resources:
https://www.techweez.com/2018/02/12/edible-qr-codes-medicine/
https://newatlas.com/edible-qr-code-medicine/53300/
https://futurism.com/future-medicine-eating-qr-code/
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/02/180202112641.htm
https://www.rdmag.com/article/2018/02/printable-edible-qr-code-offers-promise-personalized-medicine
Image: ddnews.gov.in
No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , Read more by

Mobile Pay is Booming in China (QR Codes Utilized as Payment Links)

Posted on February 10th, 2018 by

Some of the biggest news to come out of China recently is that cash is no longer king. In fact, cold hard dollars and cents are effectively dead there. The Chinese have taken massive steps to live in the financial future by using mobile pay almost exclusively. And, at the crux of mobile pay, is the QR Code – scan the code, pay for your purchase, get on with your day. China and its love affair with mobile pay can be analyzed in four major touch-points:

1. In 2016, mobile payment volume in China doubled to $5 trillion, according to Hillhouse Capital’s Analysis data.
2. In mainland China, both service providers and stores have become increasingly mobile-pay centered around apps such as Alipay and WeChat Pay. In fact, WeChat Pay cornered 40 percent of the mobile payment market, and Alipay took more at 54 percent during one quarter according to an extensive financial study. Alipay is owned by an affiliate of Alibaba’s Ant Financial Services, and it boasts 520 million users on its international website.
3. Mobile pay has grown so fast in mainland China that foreigners can find it quite difficult to go about completing even the most basic transaction without it.
4. Mobile transactions’ dominance in China could also lead to better data collection by their government.

QR Codes Vs. Cash

At one time, when shopping or eating out with local friends, the Chinese consumers would ask a merchant if they accepted credit cards, while now they ask if they accept WeChat Pay or Alipay. Then, they pay simply with the scan of a QR code right at the table or a customer shows a code to a store clerk on their Smartphones. In fact, the Chinese often joke that a beggar would prefer a mobile pay donation to cash.

Spreading to Other Countries

The mobile pay habit that has taken over China has started to trickle in to some other countries. More than six million people from China went traveling abroad last fall for their national holiday called “Golden Week.” That travel – plus China’s change to using mobile payments and QR codes – ended up putting a certain amount of pressure on places like Hong Kong and Japan to start adopting mobile payment services, since they are popular destinations for Chinese tourists. In fact, the total number of stores that accept mobile payments is expected to double to approximately 45,000 stores this year, according to a report from Nikkei.

Major Progress

So, as mobile pay has completely changed the daily commerce in China, an entire society that was once limited only to using bills that were less than 100 Yuan denominations has now become one where QR payment codes are the norm. Since there is very little red tape in China coupled with a financial system that is much less developed, the Chinese have actually managed to surpass most developed world in the practice of readily accepting mobile payments.

300 Trillion Yuan by 2021

According to CLSA, a research investment company in Hong Kong, the volume of Chinese electronic payments could quadruple by the year 2021 all the way up to 300 trillion Yuan. In addition, according to Research, mobile payments in China rose to $5.5 trillion in 2016. That’s approximately 50 times the size of the $112 billion market in the U.S.
For the Chinese imports that the States have brought in over time, the writing is on the wall that mobile-pay, and those QR Codes associated, are only set to grab a larger hold on payment methods other time.

What This Means for Countries Outside of China

While countries such as the United States may not be going completely cashless or cardless in the very near future, the momentum toward a fully digital currency is inevitable. With this, QR codes will remain one of the most practical ways to facilitate such transactions. While it may not be a sexy new technology, QR Codes are reliable, platform independent, and ubiquitous worldwide.

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , Read more by

Apple Breathes New Life into QR Codes: Updated iPhones Support Native QR Code Reading

Posted on February 1st, 2018 by

2018 is set to be a huge year for the QR Code world as iPhones updated with iOS11 now fully support QR Code reading natively. For the first time ever, the camera app built in to your smartphone can quickly and easily (and we mean super easily), read QR Codes.

For those in marketing and advertising, this opens up a whole new landscape of possibility. No more having to install a third party app. No more issues with downloading. No more ads, no more dilemmas with readability, no more – in essence – slowing the rebirth of QR Codes!

As it’s the holiday season and you’ve been out and about shopping, you’ll see more and more products boasting their QR Codes. To get details on the specific product, all you’ll have to do is pull out your iOS11 equipped iPhone, open the Camera, and point it at the QR Code. From there, the screen will show a small box in the upper part of the screen with the QR Code type and the action to be performed. The camera will recognize a URL for the product, and the iPhone will suggests opening the product website in the browser.

Beyond your holiday shopping, there are a number of other ways that QR Codes, and this new utility that the iPhone camera presents, including:

– Apple now allows easily connecting to Wi-Fi networks directly through a QR Code.
– Adding a date to your calendar for 2018? With a calendar QR Code, users can encode an event to a QR Code that is added their iPhone’s calendar upon scanning.
– A QR Code with a message encoded can be sent as a SMS message.
– QR Codes with mobile deep links encoded can bring user right into an app.

Apple’s iOS11 built in camera utility is fully supportive of QR Code reading and it’s reliable, quick, and super easy (did we say that already?). No longer needing a third party app to read QR Codes will cause more and more businesses, brands, and marketers to utilize the QR Code. Simply put, the QR Code will take major steps towards being a viable marketing tool in 2018.

No Comments | Tags: , , , , , , , , , Read more by