Speed 16 February 2012

How many people do you know that regularly use QR codes? I bet that its less than a handful.

The machine readable barcodes were invented as a mechanic to connect the physical world with the online world. But so far they have failed to go mainstream.

Tech savvy smart phone users have likely downloaded a QR reader onto their smart phone, used it a couple of times, and then moved on.

Here’s the issue: QR codes are a solution looking for a problem. If they were embedded in a compelling application then maybe they’d take off. But as a standalone mechanic I’m really not sure.

History tells us that its applications that drive the adoption of a new technology and not technology for technology’s sake.

Andrew Grill has blogged about the real world challenges of reproducing physical QR codes so that they can be snapped and decoded by a QR reader.

Then there’s the issue of integration – for now QR code readers are standalone apps.

My mobile browser should have an option to use QR codes instead of me entering a URL or more likely using Google. QR codes could be embedded in other apps around a specific function but for now they require a standalone application.

The picture above? That was a Sunday afternoon kitchen table project. Best of all it works. Try for yourself.

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