In Japan, more than 68 million people can access internet from their mobile phones; book trains, airplanes, cinema, you name it, you can probably do it from your keitai (mobile in Japanese). However, some web URLs can be quite tedious to enter on the limited keyboard of a mobile phone. Enters the QR-code.
Those 2D barcodes released in 1994 are set to replace traditional barcodes on all products on the long term; they can encode more data than previously possible and are still decryptable even when part of the symbol is damaged. In Japan, they have been assigned many roles: one of them is to help us input web addresses on our mobile phones and jump from printed content to online content. They can be photographed and decrypted by more than 50% of all mobile phones on the market in Japan (87M), that almost all sport digital cameras. A few seconds are needed to take a close-up photo of the code which can be decrypted. You are automatically offered to launch this address in the phone browser.
I found 2 of those codes in my magazines this month. But the trend started a few months ago. Many more applications have been found for this printed QR-code / keitai duo. I will detail a few more in upcoming entries.
Unfortunately for RVSI, those 2D barcodes are known as QR-codes in Japan and they seem to be the industry standard… We use them at work, I see them at the combini… I see them on business cards (just today), I have them in my Tokyo Map linking each page to restaurant and lodging infos about the area drawn on that very page, I see them on book covers (don’t have a pen and paper but want to remember the reference of the book – type of situation), I see them on websites promoting their mobile content. And I gotta make a t-shirt with a big one printed on it. I give it only a few months before the first QR-code tatoos and graphic design students using it in their projects (*bad taste alert*) in the manner of the UPC barcode.