QR Codes in Japan

Have you heard of the QR Code sensation in Japan?  This is the first I’ve read about it, but evidently Japan has turned the QR Code into an everyday part of life for consumers and a powerful marketing tool.  The QR Code (pictured at left) was actually created in Japan and they’re doing some very interesting things with this 2D symbol.  Visit Japan and you’ll find QR Codes on food, business cards, flyer’s, billboards, lampposts and even clothing.  Why you might ask.  Well this symbol has the ability to connect consumers to online content simply by taking a picture of the code.  This Japanese commercial for DoCoMo is a great example of how this works.

Taking a picture of a QR Code will also automatically input information (from a business card for example) to your mobile phone.  Now you can use your cell phone for food traceability, apply for a job and QR Codes on lampposts will even tell you where you are and area train times.  Here’s another short Japanese commercial showing how McDonald’s is using the QR Code to allow consumers to access nutritional information right at their table.

This instant access to information sounds amazing and what I’d like to know is how much longer we have to wait for this in the United States.  QR Codes, as well as some other 2D symbols are already popping up around London.  Not all cell phones are capable of reading QR Codes, so you have to be lucky enough to own a QR-capable phone for this technology to work.  Lots of Nokia models have barcode scanning software pre-loaded and many software applications are available for download on the Internet.  But not all phones are compatible with this type of software so you just have to try it out to see if it will work for you.  Kawya Reader has free downloads of barcode scanning software for mobile phones, so check out their site.  I also found this site that has a list of mobile phone models that are capable of downloading barcode scanning software.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be reading QR Codes before you know it.