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QR Codes Don’t Connect Offline to Online


2-D codes are far more important than you may think

QR Codes don’t connect offline media to online media. They are far bigger than that. 2-D codes, QR codes, Microsoft Tag, Nokia Point & Find are talked about in articles I read and articles I write in a very tactical way.

Where can you use them?‘, ‘How can you use them?‘, ‘What do they do?‘. These are all valid questions which people ask now while people become aware of them in the world excluding Japan, which has been using the technology for a while.

But something has always been missing when I think about how I could use them in the business I work in to generate revenue. By their nature, 2-D codes are simple to set up and pretty much free to use. The value our business would get from them is in developing mobile web sites for clients, of course. But, my business is a digital agency. We don’t do print.

But this morning, I had a meeting with a local creative agency I know through a business networking group. I was asking them for some quotes and feedback on some projects I am working on, when I started talking to them about 2-D codes. They had never heard of them. I explained what they were and that’s when it hit me.

The bigger picture for 2-D codes is the opportunity they represent to connect partners together to develop solutions for our clients. Not only do they connect offline media to online media. They connect service providers together too in new ways to provide new solutions and approaches to clients and their customers.

When you look at 2-D codes this way, you have the opportunity to expand beyond the limitations of your own business by working with other service providers. Suddenly, a potentially sceptical creative print company to our digital agency becomes a partner.

Of course, there is still some way to go before 2-D Codes become commonplace here in the UK, but working like this with them will make the technology more tangible for clients who increasingly want to reach their customers in ways which suit them and not ways which suit the company.

  1. 22/07/2009 at 7:23 am


    I’d love to learn more about these. How about doing a talk at the August Hull Digital MeetUp??



    PS Can you make it this Thursday?

    • 22/07/2009 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Jon,

      Yes, I’d be happy to do a talk about 2-D codes at the August meet up. I will email you.



  2. 23/07/2009 at 1:53 am

    One of the very challenges of 2d codes is that it needs several factors (agencies and individuals) to work together.

    We run a local project where we test adaptation of new technologies by local entrepreneurs, we had the print, the distribution (print makes no sense without a detailed distribution plan)esp in mobile usage, and several different use scenarios.

    These codes are excellent for small local business, However it is the “litle’ things often overlooked we see as a challenge. We met two main constraints the local business needed to be able to respond and follow through. In a localized setting data plans and the perception of “expense” was a factor.

    There also has to be a larger pr/public education campaign (industry wide) as to what they are and how they work. During one phase of the project 2dcode were on a movie poster and not one teenager knew what these Graphic(codes) were, even though many had phone for which software was available.

    I am sure that agency evaluated that campaign as unsuccessful. We continue exploring it simply because we understand that adoption is not a natural process.

    Right now our challenge is affordable small scale printing.

  3. 23/07/2009 at 8:47 am

    Local business and QR Codes:
    Yesterday I just wrote about that on http://www.kaywa.com/kaywa-reader/shui-tang-work-in-progress.html
    We think focusing solely on the QR Code is not how one should address the issue. What is behind the QR Code (the mobile site) is equally important – and currently for a local business the combination of a webpage with all relevant information and an easy way to publish news (via web or SMS) and to listen to customers (Kaykus) + the mobile site which is adapted is the right way to go.

    For the local business Shui Tang, we started with Business Cards and DokoDare. We are working now on the invitation letter for the offical opening. Next is packaging with QR Codes.

  4. 23/07/2009 at 9:46 am

    Almost 5 years ago I started working with 2D and Mobile (having come from a background as publisher of the world’s largest visitor publications co.) because I initially envisaged the potential of making print interactive and enabling a ‘cross-media’ solution, i.e a code that could be read on any screen or surface, could be very small (or large) and could enable people to interact with products or media, anywhere, in real-time 24/7/365.
    I found a company that I researched and believed were the most forward thinking and capable of not only achieving the above, but that looked beyond media to applications and solutions that would help business and commerce too – not simply provide codes to ‘connect to www.’s’
    Being an optimist I expected this to catch on within 18 months but nevertheless, fast forwarding to today, it’s now really starting to gain traction in Europe and the US – primarily with the early thinking and examples i.e. ‘connection to url’s’ in media, but also, with mobile coupons, ticketing and a few other creative campaigns.
    It’s slower here than say Japan (where it began) but then they had readers pre-loaded on phones and (at the time) only read QR as it was developed as the mobile code there. Here we still have to download readers which you can do for free but need to be a little mobile/tech savvy to do – that will change soon as readers begin to appear as a standard feature here, in mainland Europe and the USA too.
    It was in the 80’s that computers got attention and began to reach the masses, things don’t happen overnight but even mobile has evolved so much in a relatively short time and practically everyone has one (and they have it with them practically all the time.) That makes for endless possibilities.
    For it to work for media it needs to do more than connect it needs to find ways for it make money directly or indirectly which say includes increasing readership (which gives data support which in turn supports advertising.)
    But, there are many many more applications for business and commerce, i.e. packaging track & trace, anti-counterfeit, id, authentication, control systems and improved efficiencies – these are not public facing but are also going on right now.
    So, in fact there’s a lot more going on than meets the eye and all of this is serving to define standards and extend the number of solutions and applications using Mobile + 2D. As Will says ‘anyone can create a code and a link to a url’, and the readers are free too, so my suggestion is to make sure you get good advice before parting with your money and have a short medium and longer term plan that can show measurable benefits.

  5. 23/07/2009 at 8:51 pm

    Good to see that people still know what they are talking about. So much BS around these days!

  6. 29/09/2009 at 10:29 pm

    I believe that 2D Codes are a Cross-Media Bridge for any and all Printed Media to the e-mobile, e-media and e-commerce world.

    If you are interested in Networking with the world’s largest 2D Codes – LinkedIn group of its kind, join the 450 members who recently joined our global group….
    2D Codes for Global MEDIA. The URL Link to join is below and takes seconds to join if you are a member of LinkedIn or not. It’s all FREE.


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