Unlocking the QR Code I spent some time yesterday researching the QR code - and I am proud to say that I am finally on Team QR code!
For those of you who don't know - QR (Quick Response) codes are 2 dimensional barcodes - they were invented by Denso-Wave (a Toyota subsidiary) back in 1994 as a way of tracking car parts. And then programmers realized that phones were able to read these codes as well. The rest is history..
They look like that image over to your right.
There's a new trend in Real Estate with REALTORS incorporating these codes into their marketing. A code displayed on a For Sale sign can send a user to the REALTOR'S featured listing page in a matter of seconds.
Iphone/Android phones can read these codes as well as Blackberries running Blackberry Messenger5 and newer (you can access them using the "Scan A Group Barcode" option in the BBM menu). Some phones come with a QR code reader already installed - other phones that don't have it just need an app that can be downloaded for free on Itunes or Android Market. (Just search QR scanner) Basically, you point the camera at the QR code - and POOF! You're launched into an exciting 2 second journey to...?? :) Usually it's a website, mobile page or a page displaying contact information.
How do you get customized QR codes? They're free and SUPER easy! I have some directions at the bottom of this post.. just so I'm not boring everyone. :) Just scroll down and you'll see them. Send me an email if you get stuck! :)
Where are they being used? Japan is the #1 fan of QR codes (makes sense.. they're always miles ahead in technology..) In Japan, every cell phone comes with a reader installed already. Apparantly QR codes are on anything from business cards to lettuce. I even found this:
http://www.japantrends.com/qr-code-graves-give-a-memorial-window/ - I think I'm still on the fence with this one. lol
It seems to be gaining popularity in Europe too..Volvo recently launched an ad campaign. So did an Italian dairy farmer... I wonder if he painted QR codes on his cows? :)
While it's been a little slow taking off in North America, the technology is starting to gain some momentum. We're starting to see it a lot. Back in June of this year, HSBC advertised during Wimbledon with print ads featuring a code which directed the users to a mobile page. Calvin Klein (known for controversial billboards) launched a campaign in New York city and Los Angeles that featured a QR code which transported the user to a mobile video - of sexy people in sexy jeans! True Calvin Klein styles. So yes, I believe QR codes will continue to pop up all over the marketplace. And why wouldn't it? It's easy. It's instant! Quick Response, right?
The only downfall for me was the design... They are U.G.L.Y. It broke my heart to think of these invasive black and white boxes preying on the pureness and simplicity of what my lovely branded Realtor For Sale signs.. I just couldn't see it working.. until... 'gasp' I found out that they could be CUSTOMIZED! (cue harp)
That's right folks.. apparantly, these darling little codes(notice the attitude change?) have a 30% error allowance in them, which means they can't be COMPLETELY changed but there can be a little creative aspects to them.. which is all I needed to know! Here are a few samples that I whipped up - from what I have read, some phones read QRcodes better than others. They work great on my IPhone, but I'd be curious to see what the result is with other phones. Let me know if they work for you!
So to summarize, I can see this taking off and not going anywhere for a while - unless they can figure out a better way to transmit links to cell phones easier than that (without frying our brains in the process..)It's easy, quick, and you get instant results. And in a world where "Everything is amazing, and nobody's happy", I think we have a winner, folks! (That link is to a hilarious CK Louis skit. Prepare to smile!)
How to get QR Codes:
MyRealPage.com websites have offered this feature since 2009 - offering QR code generation that creates a unique code for each listing! They rock and I love them! Realtyninja.com just today made their exciting announcement that they too offer this innovative feature. Love that!! As far as the other Real Estate website providers go, I'm not sure.. but they should! If you know of any other ones that do, please let me know! I'm curious to see how many companies are providing Realtors this service.
If you want to create a QR code out - follow these instructions. There are many QR code generators out there. I tend to prefer Quickmark.com.tw (Thanks to Colin Perry at www.TordiaImages.com for the tip)- It's a little complicated to find so here's the first part of the journey - http://quickmark.com.tw/En/diy/?qmLink - after you're on the page, look on the left - click on QRCode DIY and choose what kind of information you'd like to display (website, contact info). Enter the info and you'll see the image on the right. Press generate QRcode. Then go down to the bottom of the image where it says Barcode download: PNG, JPEG, etc. Choose what format you'd like to download. What is great about this site, is they give you the option to download SVG - This is a vector based graphic that you can blow up BIG! It may not mean much to you, but your graphic designer/print show will LOVE you! So will your clients! :)
Thanks for reading, everyone! I hope this post was helpful in clearing up some QR code questions -
So... are YOU on Team QR Code?? :)
Over and out,
Emily Read - Real Estate Extraordinaire
www.RealEstateExtraordinaire.com - Helping REALTORS sell Real Estate - Simple as that.