Friday, January 25, 2013

RIP QR Codes –why code-based scanning will give way to image recognition for mobile apps

Two quicks facts to kick things off: QR Codes (Quick Response Codes) were not designed for mobile advertising. They were created by the automotive industry to track vehicles as they flowed through the logistics chain.

While a significant advance at the time (1994) because they improved the scanning effectiveness (compared to barcodes) and could hold 100 times more data, today QR codes draw mixed reactions from consumers and developers alike.

According to Comscore’s survey of December 2011, only 20% of Americans use QR codes (this drops to 12% in Spain). The bottom line is that QR codes are not practical for average consumers to use and they are not the best way  for advertisers to connect with their customers.

Ever tried scanning a QR Code? You will need both a steady hand and some trial and error in finding the best angle for scanning. You will also need to find a Code Scanner app and download it to your phone, as well as to know how to use it! The barriers are significant. Not to mention the fact that QR codes can be hacked for malicious purposes, as happened in Russia.

The new way of recognizing images within adverts (in posters, magazine ads or on packaged goods) is by Image Recognition. Catchoom (based in Spain) is leading the way in this, using a Cloud-based recognition system to achieve image matching in under 0.5 seconds. The user simply points their smartphone’s camera at the image (for example, a logo), Catchoom processes the information with its patented image recognition algorithms, and hey presto! In less than a second, you get a weblink, an image or a video appearing on the phone screen. Compared to QR Codes, the technology really kicks ass, because what are known as “false positives” are vastly reduced. This means, around 99% of users pointing at an image to be recognized will get a perfect match and see the information the publisher has created.

The future has arrived...RIP QR codes.

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