Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. :)
Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to be taking a look at a very very cool tool to help you sell whatever it is you’re trying to sell, be it a website, a product, or a movie. We will actually be taking a look at two sites today, both of which are easy to use and easy to navigate. So, get out those cell phones and let’s start talking QR Codes.
QR Codes are essentially barcodes that your cell phone can read. You take a picture of the code with your phone, and the code will direct your phone to a website, video, or really any digital media desired.
I was introduced to this technology by an innovative librarian at the University of Central Oklahoma, Amanda Lemon. Amanda and Jason Cimock (also of UCO) presented at this years COIL workshop, unCOILed. They spoke about mobile phones in the classroom, and their presentation can be found here. Part of the presentation focused on todays tool, QR Codes. It’s a very interesting presentation, and if you have time, I suggest that you take a look.
On to the tools! The first tool we’ll be taking a look at is Mircosoft Tag Beta.
Here they are on Twitter.
From the site: “Microsoft Tag creates unlimited possibilities for making interactive communications an instant, entertaining part of life. They transform physical media (print advertising, billboards, product packages, information signs, in-store merchandising, or even video images)—into live links for accessing information and entertainment online.”
Signing up for an account on Microsoft Tag Beta is extremely easy- and, if you’re like me and already have a Hotmail or Live ID account, you are already registered to use Microsoft Tag Beta. I was able to sign in quickly using my log in information for my hotmail account.
Once you’ve signed in, just click on the Make A Tag Link to get started.
Microsoft Tag Beta provides and easy form to fill out in order to create your code. I admit that before my explorations today I knew very little about creating the codes. If you take a little time reading around the creation websites, you’ll start to understand the language and the intended use of the codes. Here’s what to expect once you’ve decided to build a tag:
When you’re done, click save and you’ll be brought back to a menu of all the codes you have created.
This is where, for me, it got a little bit complicated. I don’t know it’s because of the website or my computer, but I clicked on the Render button and nothing happened at first. I’m sure it’s a minor glitch, because on the second click I was given the following menu, which will provide you with your publishing choices:
I chose PDF and quickly downloaded my new code. I had previously downloaded the Microsoft Tag reader app for my iPhone. I just took a picture of my computer screen:
And, instantly I was taken to my website (which is what I had programed the code to do):
I saved my code as a PDF that I can physically print out and post. Anyone with a cell phone camera and an app to read the codes can click the picture and be taken to my blog. Very cool. Go ahead, give it a try (get readers here):
There are a lot of potential uses for this technology.
To be fair, there are a lot of code creations sites out there. Spend a little time on Google and you’ll find a site that fits your needs. With that in mind, let’s look at another code creation option. Q-Lytics:
Here they are on Twitter.
From the site: “Q-lytics is a free service that enables you to create dynamic barcode campaigns that can be updated on the fly and track how many hits your codes have received. Detailed reports can be generated that display your campaign activity including unique visits, traffic from multiple codes, locations, carrier and handset data.”
Amanda and I discovered a code in Tulsa a few weeks ago. It was posted on the outside of a mall, as you would post a movie poster. Amanda snapped a picture of it, and using an app we were led to a video for the movie “9.”
Signing up for Q-lytics was very easy.
From there the set up of the code was similar to the Microsoft Tag Beta site insofar as there was a menu which I filled out in order to get the code.
Once you have filled out the information you will be provided with your code.
One of the coolest things about Q-Lytics is the fact that they provide you with the actual code, a SMS shortcode, and a URL for your code. For example:
Also, they give you a unique URL that you can share that will direct people to your website, or chosen web destination.
In closing, this is definitely a neat bit of technology. I had never heard of it before our conference, and once I saw it in use at the mall I realized that we’re really coming into a new era. Amanda and Jason mused that the placement of these codes around a library could lead patrons to a help page- if they needed help locating a book they could be led to the catalogue, for example.
The one draw back I see is that the use of this technology isn’t widespread yet. Amanda was using QR codes in Japan years ago, but the technology is only coming into use now.
I am looking forward to keeping my eyes peeled for these codes. Very interesting stuff.
As always thoughts and comments are encouraged and welcome!