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.

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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
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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.

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Snapchat and the Resurgence of QR Codes

Posted on November 30th, 2017 by

With its 173 million users, Snapchat is certainly one of the most widely used apps. While the demographic is younger – it’s been predicted that by the end of this year, Snapchat will be bigger than both Facebook and Instagram in the US among 12 to 24-year-olds – the platform is seemingly everywhere. And, with attention like that, it means that businesses are working on how to utilize the platform to market themselves, boosting brand awareness and sales.

QR Codes, on the other hand, were a utility that seemed to fade – like a boxer on the ropes, down but not out. They were on ketchup bottles, real estate flyers, the walls of subway tiles – and all users had to do was point their camera, scan the black-and-white squares, and be redirected to a desired URL. The future in our hands. Except, you had to be sure your phone had a camera that could do QR scanning, download an app, maybe download another app, to finally read the code just to end up on the wrong website or a webpage not suited for mobile. The future, sure. QR Codes were simply ahead of their time.

Not only are QR Codes back and prevalent, but apps like Snapchat (and Facebook) are pushing the future of QR Codes. Sure, they may have different names – Snap Codes and Messenger Codes among others – but the technology and the way people can utilize it have caught up to what QR Codes were always meant to be.

Two years ago, when Snapcodes were rolled out, users were creating their own codes and adding friends using the platform. These were QR Codes in a different form, and with a different utility, from anything that had been seen before. The fact that Snapchat always opened up to its camera was inviting the use of these codes. Fast forward to today, and now using the codes users can unlock filters, get animated lenses, or even discover different channels and content groups with the app. And yes, the most recent development allows users to create a code that links to any website. When users scan the code, they are natively brought to the mobile page while remaining in Snapchat.

With this ease of use, and the potential advertising and marketing barriers being taken down, we are starting to see more businesses looking to start using Snapcodes in their marketing. And, now that Snapcodes have made it into the limelight, many are looking back on the previous renditions of QR Codes and now figuring on how they can be best put to use. Snapcodes got users accustomed to simply scanning with their phone, and since Snapchat’s scanning app supports QR codes along with Snapcodes, it means that anyone with Snapchat can effortlessly scan a QR code as well.

Using the platform in this way is giving businesses and brands a very powerful connection to an audience obsessed with Snapchat. Promoting their product or service through images – and QR Codes – instead of basic URL clicks is more substantial for branding and brand recognition. Leveraging QR Codes, businesses can:

– Easily create a B2C connection. Instead of ‘adding friends’, users could now check out a business, make an online search or purchase, and save or send web links.
– Have greater reach. Snapchat is storytelling with imagery, and with one click of a QR Code businesses could hold a conversation and further tell their story. Businesses like Starbucks and Whole Foods are using Snapchat as the portal for their advertising, allowing for special giveaways and features to be ‘unlocked’ when scanning their code.
– Collect payment in a seamless way. Much in the same vein as Apple Pay, users will be able to connect and pay for items with the simple scan of a code.

There is an entire greenfield in today’s world when it comes to utilizing Snapchat for QR Codes, and for as much growth and understanding as we’ve seen in the last year or so, there is still a ton of which is undeveloped and there is still a lot to learn. New technologies, best practices, and more efficient ways to utilize Snapchat for QR Codes in marketing a brand on the platform, are efforts that are only going to increase with time. This much is certain – QR Codes aren’t dead. They are very much alive.

 

References:
https://www.recode.net/2017/8/24/16198632/snapchat-instagram-teens-comscore-study-growth-users
https://www.wired.com/story/the-curious-comeback-of-the-dreaded-qr-code/
http://www.businessinsider.com/snapchat-expands-qr-code-reach-2017-2
http://mashable.com/2017/05/08/qr-codes-1app-snapchat-facebook/#yf.iO0BFM5qA
http://fortune.com/2016/05/13/snapchat-qr-code-reader/

 

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Utilizing the QR Code

Posted on June 5th, 2012 by

QR codes are all the rage right now and they should be due to their usefulness in marketing and information sharing.  But for many people currently using QR codes they seem to think the QR code is an end in itself, this could not be further from the truth.

A QR code by itself is boring, and often companies connect this boring 2D black and white bar code to a just as boring and hard to navigate desktop website, all the while feeling as though they have presented the world with some great accomplishment.  Well sadly they have done no such thing, instead they have only wasted their time and money, while wasting the time of the unfortunate customer’s who chose to scan the code.

A QR code is only as useful as the advertisement convincing the consumer to scan the code and the content the code is connected to.  If you can’t convince the consumer to scan the code then it doesn’t matter how good the content is, no one will ever see it.  If you can get the consumer to scan the code but it takes them to a boring, hard to navigate, or irrelevant landing page, then it is of no use if they see it as they won’t be sticking around very long to make your QR code investment worth it.

A solid marketing strategy must be used to convince your targeted consumer to scan the QR code.  Whether this is through promising some reward, interesting content, an interactive experience, a special deal or simply dressing it in pretty colors, it does not matter, just make sure you have convinced the consumer that it is worth their time to pull out their phone and scan the code.

Once you have figured out how to convince the consumer to scan the QR code you need to make sure you have content that will keep them interested and complete whatever goal you hoped they would achieve by scanning the code.  It is important that your landing page be mobile friendly, which often means paying for individual mobile website development.  You can limit this expense by subscribing to a company that provides a mobile web site creation platform to ensure you can create many mobile sites at a minimal cost and that are already connected to the QR code.  From here it is simply about creating the relevant content.  For example, if you wish for the visitor to complete a purchase, perhaps you might offer a discount if they make the purchase from the mobile website, or perhaps you reward the visitor with a coupon if they agree to send you their contact information, or maybe you offer them a sneak peak at a newly released movie trailer.   Just make sure the content is relevant to the pitch you made to get them to scan the code in the first place.

Only when both of these facets of the QR code are mastered will the use of this technology be worth the resources spent.

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