There have been low level, techie-driven grumblings about QR Codes for several months now. Predominantly based around the fact they will soon be replaced by another type of scanning technology: Mobile Visual Search. So is it time for your Dubai advertising team to ditch your QR Code campaign?
Not quite. It’s taken over two years for QR Codes to gain the broad public awareness to become the viable marketing tool it is today. But it will help your marketing team enormously to get a heads up on Mobile Visual Search.
MVS is a slow burning technology that allows mobile phone users to scan their environment and get information pushed to their phone. For example, point your camera at the Burj al Arab and an app on your phone will send you the information on this iconic building.
However the apps for this technology haven’t reached the saturation of QR Code apps, and there are only a handful of MVS developers in the world, who use an even smaller number of companies for the image recognition technology behind the apps.
It is a very niche idea at the moment. Google has invested in their own MVS app, Google Goggles, and the potential is very alluring – point your mobile’s camera at anything, instantly finding out about it. No messing with intermediary codes.
But, for advertisers the QR Code still has traction. You can put one anywhere, on anything. When Calvin Klein wanted to seduce trendy young people in New York with a risqué ad, it was done through using a QR Code. There was no need to put a picture up on the billboard, similar to the ones that have got the company in hot water in the past. The QR Code is like a present, you are not sure what you are going to get before you open it.
With Mobile Visual Search, this element of surprise is gone. You point your camera at a product, building, painting or some foreign words and the information is delivered to your phone. It just isn’t as exciting as receiving a present, it’s more like opening a guide book.
Advertising and marketing companies are going to have to get very creative with this new technology if they want it to work on the scale that QR Codes currently do. One of the objections to QR Codes is they are ugly and interfere with advertising real estate. But they don’t have to be ugly and can direct customers towards specific pages of content, videos, or purchase points.
And this is where MVS falls down currently. You can make sure anyone accessing your logo through MVS technology goes to your corporate website, but how do create a journey for them? How do you take them to the latest video, how do you give them a present?
One article on the web has stirred up a lot of the current controversy surrounding the possible death of the QR Code, and has spawned other blog posts on the subject. On Mashable, the owner of a company that develops MVS said he didn’t think 14 million people accessing a QR Code was impressive. However, these codes can only be accessed by smartphones and there are 1.5bn worldwide mobile web users (i.e. smartphone users). Suddenly 14 million in one country is starting look at lot more impressive.
Mobile Visual Search is advancing, but just like video didn’t kill radio; QR Codes will develop and adapt to counter the new tech on the block. So don’t stop your QR Code advertising campaign in Dubai just yet. Dubai is one of the most advanced countries in the world when it comes to QR Code usage. It’s not wise to let such a savvy audience down, but enhancing your offering with new technology is always a good move.
International Telecommunication Union