Skip to main content

The death of QR Codes and the impending rise of Augmented Reality

by Dave Tinneny | 23.05.2012

QR Codes have been around for almost 20 years… That’s something to think about the next time you see one in a ridiculous placement. Those mysterious black and white pixelated boxes were originally intended to track vehicles during the manufacture process at a Toyota factory in Japan. Nothing says ‘cutting edge technology’ like a novel spin-off from industrial production techniques developed in the early 90’s.

Nowadays, most people have smart-phones as they continue to become more affordable. Somewhere along the line, a marketer had the genius idea to use QR codes to access different website features and content through mobile devices, which would make people drop their jaws with amazement and hand over the cash for whatever that marketer’s product was… Hmmm…

For a better understanding of how poorly executed some QR code campaigns have been, check out this great example from the clever guys at econsultancy.

Yesterday I attended a speed networking event with Linkshare. I thought the event was fantastic and I got a lot of really useful opportunities from it. One of the afternoon’s highlights was meeting Kate Mason and Shaun Burke. They both work for Aurasma (who use Salvador Dalí’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ on the back of their business cards – awesome) and are promoting what I firmly believe will be the technology that replaces QR codes and sends them back to the factory for good.

Augmented reality… It’s one of those concepts that was a staple of cheesy sci-fi films, but is now within our reach (like Google’s Larry Page planning to mine an asteroid in the next 20 years). The future is full of amazing innovation, which makes me wonder why so many companies persist with QR codes.

Aurasma have a free app. Open the app, point the camera of your mobile device at a building, book, painting, product or anything else that’s been enabled, and watch the madness unfold for yourself. A page in a magazine suddenly had product specific links to purchase the items it reviewed. A DVD cover of Peter Jackson’s King Kong suddenly had the big ape swatting planes from the top of the Empire State building. No scanning, re-scanning, waiting ages and then re-directing to a site that may or may not be even mobile optimised. QR Codes are dead… Augmented Reality killed it. Imagine what this technology will do in the next few years as it develops.

Click here to see Aurasma in action.