All of us, to some degree or another, are likely guilty of the modern sin of texting or talking on your phone while driving. And of course many states have made these things illegal, or if not, the societal pressure to stop distracting yourself while you drive a two ton metal machine at high rates of speed is likely so great that you may feel guilty when caught engaging in this sort of behavior (I know I do on a daily, or even hourly basis). Though I often engage in this potentially dangerous activity for some reason I can’t seem to stop it outright. Fortunately there is now a way to help people like myself stop texting and talking while they drive, and it is only possible in part because of NFC.
A company called TagStand—a big name in NFC—has recently developed an app that encourages users to focus on driving rather than taking a call or responding to a text. The app itself, called Drive Agent, sends a text message in response to either a call or text back to the individual trying to get in touch with you, telling them that you are currently driving and will get back to them when you are less distracted.
This alone is incredibly useful, but a problem with similar apps is in the long wait time to turn such an app on. This wait time prevents people from using the app as often as they might, or prevents them from using it altogether. So what TagStand has done is create an NFC tag which can be placed on your car phone holder and once your phone is set in the case the NFC tag activates the Drive Agent app and all calls and texts will be responded to with an automated response. This ease of use will go a long way to helping in the adoption of such an app, and hopefully decrease the likelihood of an accident by users. So really this app will probably save thousands of lives. The creators probably deserve a medal or something.
There really are an incredible number of creative uses for NFC technology like this one, and is not limited to payment uses only as many still seem to believe. For the millions of Qfuse blog readers out there interested in NFC technology I will be sure to write about these many creative uses as I discover them, so be sure to check back in frequently.
You know a technology has arrived and is nearing critical mass when the biggest players in the game begin adopting the technology and using it correctly. Once these big players adopt the technology, even if it was not well known prior, the technology usually becomes main stream since its visibility skyrockets. This is what can happen when a company with the size and visibility of McDonalds starts using a growing technology like QR codes on their product packaging (particularly when they use them well).
While it is true that you can hardly go anywhere anymore without seeing a QR code, many people still have no idea what they are or what their purpose is for. And it certainly doesn’t help things when QR codes are used but used poorly or improperly like the vast majority of codes out there. This can push people away from ever scanning future codes since they fail to see what the benefit to scanning them is. So when you have a company with the brand recognition like McDonalds and they use the technology right, then this can help boost QR code use throughout the entire market.
I recently had my obligatory McDonalds once every year meal and saw the QR code on their to-go bags. I know they have been doing this for a little while, but it was my first time seeing it in person, and I was pleasantly surprised.
McDonalds is using the QR code as a way mainly to dispense information about the foods their customers are eating, in particular the nutritional value. On every to-go bag there is a QR code and above the code it simply says “Nutritional Value.” Upon scanning the code you are then taken to a nice, easy to use, pleasant looking mobile landing page with a list of all food items offered on their menu, with all nutritional facts available. In addition to the nutritional facts they also have a link to their suppliers, allowing consumers to see just where their meat and other ingredients are coming from.
This is a great offering by McDonalds, and certainly helps any diet conscious person out there who wants to know about everything they put into their body.
Besides the nutritional and supplier information they also have a tab to learn about their current promotions, a McDonalds location finder, and a careers tab for anyone interested.
McDonalds uses the technology in a way that is useful, informative and valuable to their customer, all while adhering to generally agreed upon best practices for QR code use. This sort of QR code use, and in particular well done QR code use, will go a long way to helping make QR codes visible to consumers and teach them about what they are and how to use them. This in turn should help other businesses lose their fear of the technology and show them how it can be used to provide customers with additional value or even help drive sales. Just make sure you are using a QR code platform that allows you to do everything all in one place and help you track your campaign to ensure it is working like a well oiled machine.
ExactTarget customers can now download and install a Qfuse app in HubExchange directly within their use of the Interactive Marketing Hub.
This app enables users to extend the reach of the ExactTarget platform with Qfuse’s mobile engagement platform. ExactTarget customers can now build their email lists with QR codes and NFC tags via a “scan to signup” feature, as well as mobile lead capture with SalesForce integration. The Qfuse platform also allows users to easily develop full-featured mobile landing pages and micro-sites for use with targeted mobile campaigns such, SMS, mobile advertising and social media outreach.
About ExactTarget ExactTarget is a leading global provider of cross-channel digital marketing software-as-a-service solutions that empower organizations of all sizes to communicate with their customers through email, mobile, social media, Web and marketing automation. ExactTarget’s suite of integrated applications enable marketers to plan, automate, deliver and optimize data-driven digital marketing and real-time communications to drive customer engagement, increase sales and improve return on marketing investment. For more information, visit www.ExactTarget.com.
About HubExchange Finally there’s an app marketplace that’s truly made for marketers. Drop-and-go apps from the HubExchange take your marketing further than ever, creating more possibilities, more great ways to connect with your customers. It’s a natural extension of your ExactTarget marketing solution that lets you find, add, and start using the best apps right away—and the sky’s the limit. Reaching any customer, in any channel, with any message just went to a whole new level. ExactTarget’s HubExchange. Built by marketers, for marketers. For more information, visit www.HubExchange.com
Anyone who is in the habit of carrying business cards with them at all times has certainly had that occasion where they run into someone that would benefit from having their card but they either they ran out or it was the one time they weren’t carrying them. This can be terribly frustrating. Luckily there is now a way to solve this dilemma.
Instead of jamming a bunch of business cards into your wallet, or perhaps in addition to those business cards, you can now replace them with an NFC tag. Saving your wallet from looking like George Castanza.
What the NFC tag allows you to do is transmit information from your wallet to a mobile device. So instead of handing the person your card, all they need to do now is place their smartphone near your wallet and your contact info will be downloaded into their phone. Now a lost business card on their end or your own won’t stand as a road block to a potential sale or connection. And you never need to worry about running out of business cards again.
But not only does the NFC fix this issue of running out of business cards, but it also saves you money and time. Depending on how many business cards you go through a year, this can lead to some pretty substantial savings, particularly if you are the type who attempts to impress through their high end business cards.
What better way to impress someone though than to show them a cool new technology for the first time. I am sure most people don’t even realize their smartphone is NFC enabled, so you will be doing them a great service for that reason alone.
If you are looking for NFC tags and a platform to manage your tags and mobile sites, be sure to check out the Qfuse platform. It couldn’t make things easier.
A couple months back I was watching a Red Sox game on NESN and out of the blue a QR code appeared on screen. I was shocked since I had never seen this before during a game or during any other TV broadcast. Initially I was very excited, but this excitement didn’t last long.
Unfortunately the code appeared on screen and the only thing to indicate its purpose was the word ‘schedule’ written below it. This would make sense to you if you knew what to do with a QR code, but if you do not know what to do with a QR code—like most people—you must have been pretty baffled. Throw in the fact that it was only on screen for a few seconds (barely enough for me to snap a photo, even despite my incredible acceleration off my couch). This was a good example of how not to use a QR code (though it did appear to me to have great potential).
Again I was watching a Red Sox game on NESN this past weekend and what would you know but a QR code appears once again on my TV set. Only this one was different.
Right when the QR code jumped up on screen the sideline commentator began explaining to the viewers that they can scan the code with their smartphones, and if they do so they will be directed to a video on NESN’s mobile website(!) about the proper approach and plate mechanics for any young batter learning the game.
The QR code on screen was labeled ‘Approach’ to go along with the sideline reporter’s commentary, and the video was a three minute long batting instruction with former Red Sox great Jim Rice focusing on proper bat angle and motion through the strike zone. It was a great little video instruction for any youngster trying to improve their hitting.
In addition to this great call to action and discussion of the QR code, NESN also realized that keeping the code on the screen longer would entice more scans. As you can see by my screen shots I had time to take a photo and a scan the code, unlike the first time. This being said, I jumped to the screen the moment I saw the code and only barely was able to scan it and take a photo, so a few seconds longer would probably have been ideal.
This sort of additional value that can be shared with viewers through creative uses of QR codes is a great example of what other businesses and organizations should be doing as well. Sure sometimes it takes a few attempts to get it done correctly, but once mastered the value it can create is well worth the effort.
To ensure you limit the number of attempts to master the QR code be sure to read our best practices and use a platform that will help ensure you use this technology correctly and allow you to manage everything all from one place.