QR codes - It all started in 2002 with the Japanese network carriers (NTT DoCoMO, J-Phone) handset makers (Panasonic, NEC, SHARP), and a number of service companies (Denso, MediaSeek, 3GVision) collaborating to create innovative uses for the new cameras in mobile phones. Their favorite idea was an idea to turn a camera phone into a barcode scanner, delivering encoded information - including URLs that could connect direct to the mobile internet.There are many code scanners available for mobile devices, some supporting multiple platforms and some not. The "i-nigma" scanner is the third I've installed on my Blackberry Torch, and by far the fastest. Knowing its adoption in Japan makes me comfortable with the choice. Their site offers, in addition to the scanner itself, a page for creating free QR codes of your own. The one that appears below links directly to a YouTube video made recently to help sell an RV.
The style of barcode that was adopted is called QR (short for Quick Response) and five short years later, QR codes are recognized by over 90% of Japanese mobile users - and used by over 50% of them - for fast and easy access on the move to encoded information on the internet. More people in Japan now surf the web from a mobile phone than from a PC and QR codes are found everywhere - in advertising and promotional materials, on product packaging and vending machines - to deliver "Quick Response". The Japan Story - 3Gvision's barcode reader, now called i-nigma was developed to be pre-installed in handsets supplied by all of Japan's major mobile manufacturers - in collaboration with them - to the specification of the Japanese network operators. As a result, this barcode reader has become the standard for camera phones in Japan - in over 80 million handsets, with over 90% market share - creating a marketplace phenomenon that the rest of the world is now embracing.
If you have a scanner installed on your mobile device please give it a try - and even better if you leave a comment about the result. If you don't yet have a scanner onboard the i-nigma is a great start, free of concerns about unwanted hitchhikers on the file. Unlike my former favourite, i-nigma only offers to scan for you. There are no other live links to software you might download in error.