Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bar codes + Cell phones = Next big thing 2008

I think I listed QR codes in my predictions for 2008. No, they aren't yet available in the US. But they're coming. And its already hitting the streets on the Sprint network.

I just saw a full page Sprint ad in WIRED (Jan2008) with the tag line "The captivating future of the bar code". I couldn't find any info on their web site.

With a camera phone and a Sprint data plan, text "scan" to 70734 and download the free application. The use the new app on your cell phone and snap a pic of the bar code in the ad to receive your secret prize.

Of course I'm an iPhone guy, and this is the first time that I'm mildly unhappy about that. Does anyone out there have a Sprint camera phone. If you do please do this little experiment for me and let me know how it turns out.

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B.J. Schone said...

Hey Brent,

I tried it with my HTC Mogul and it worked *great*. The free prize is a ringtone (eh, oh well), but the free scanner application that it gives you is pretty cool. I can't wait to try other QR codes. Thanks for posting about the ad. This is cool stuff!

(By the way, I don't have the latest Wired magazine, but there's an image of the QR code here. I took a picture of my laptop's screen and my phone read it successfully.)


bschlenker said...

Hi B.J.! Cool! I can't wait 'til the iPhone gets a barcode reading app. Argghhhh!!!
Think of all the VERY cool learning things we could do.
I'm very pumped about this technology for 08. Thanks for the good news.
Could you also do me a favor and try "scanning" the QR code on my blog?

B.J. Schone said...

I was able to scan the QR code on your blog (from my PC monitor) and it redirected my phone to a mobile version of your blog. Very nice!

An interesting note: I tried scanning the QR code from my laptop's screen, but my phone couldn't 'see' the QR code; nothing happened. I tried it on my PC monitor, which is much brighter, and it worked fine.

Lots of potential here. Please keep us in the loop if you see more stuff like this!


bschlenker said...

You probably have your refresh rates set differently on your monitors.

But I'm very happy to hear that it worked. Thanks for testing this for me and letting me know the results.

Anonymous said...

Question: What do people see as the potential with this? Especially as related to learning? Thanks.

Stephen M said...

I wonder about the actual usefulness of something like this after the "Gee Whiz" factor wears off.

Anyone remember the Cue:Cat?

bschlenker said...

I think there is definitely a gee whiz factor that I can admit too ;-)

I think the next big technology that will be more appealing...and GPS. So instead of taking the time to open the QR reader app on your phone and snapping a pic to get more info, you simply leave your phone in your pocket and walk near an active location and your phone rings.

The value of QR codes is that you get to decide what you take pictures of in order to get info. Of course GPS will have opt-in features, but I'm certain spammers will be finding ways to hack into that.

I will write another followup post later with more indepth thoughts on how we can use barcodes and cellphones in elearning.

Great questions! I love the conversation!

Anonymous said...

Hi Brent,

Do you want to post a prediction for e-learning for 2008 as a comment at