Connect to Jeroen Steeman on LinkedIn Follow Jeroen Steeman on Facebook

The use of QR codes on business cards

Some say QR code business cards do not exist and that this is a fantasy. We say they certainly can and do exist and in more than one flavour as well. Lets have a look at what a QR code for a business card is and what needs to be taken into consideration before using one.

Why put a QR code on a business card
To save a person having to retype all the information into their digital contact list. However the flip side of the coin is that you will have a square 2D bar-code on your business card, and this may not be esthetically pleasant to the 'look and feel' of the card that represents you and your business.

Digital contact information
Forms and specifications of exchanging digital contact information (electronic business card) is nothing new, it was defined in 1995 the 'Versit Consortium' and was represented by Apple, AT&T, IBM and amoungst others also Siemens. It became known as the vCard specification. It was developed to make it easy to exchange contact information between platforms that supported address lists and soon was supported by most e-mail clients. It was also shortly after that dumped by nearly everyone because attaching a digital business card to a signature in an email caused an incredible increase in spam because this was an ideal way for email harvesters to get new email addresses and send more spam. So much for e-mail and electronic business cards.

With the invention of the mobile phone another standard designed for these devices appeared in the late 1990. Called the 'MeCard', it was simple and could exchange basic contact information like name and phone number.

There are two different ways of exchanging electronic contact information
The vCard has a comprehensive feature set, allowing for multiple private and business telephone numbers, websites as well as url's and even embedding image data, while the MeCard format is for fast simple basic contact information transfer.

Electronic business card QR code example:

Mecard QR Code vCard QR Code
Mecard QR code vCard QR code

The contact information in the QR codes above are the same with the MeCard QR code having a smaller surface area or 'footprint', this is because of the internal data formating required to get the information in the correct format into the QR code.

Which one would you prefer
The Mecard is small in size, does not allow you to put in a company name, or a fax number nor many other business related information objects, so this can be a problem for professional use.

Size does matter
Idealy a QR code on a business card should be as small as possible and contain as much business contact information as needed, here is the first of two points where those who claim that a QR code business card does not exist may have a point. Looking at the vCard, that can contain vast amounts of information, a QR code cannot, like a balloon it has it limits in how much it can store. Making it less than the ideal transfer method to exchange information. A typlical example is the ability of the vCard to hold and transfer an image, a QR code simply does not have the capacity, and if it did, it may need a business card of large proportions to be able to print a readable QR code on it.

Vcard sounds great but has limits and creates a large footprint QR code whereas MeCard is great for personal use but serves the business community badly.

Dynamic QR codes to the rescue

Imagine if you could use the full potential of the vCard specification, like company name and details, fax numbers, even an image of yourself or your company building. It is in fact possible using a dynamic QR code and an Internet service. One company offering advanced contact and vCard information exchange is QR4 with their managed vCard+ service.

QR Code Business Card Example

 

QR Code Business Card

Results on an iPhone

vCard+ Contact Page vCard+ Contact Information
 vCard+ Screen  vCard+ contact information

This is a very clever QR code application using encrypted URL parameters to prevent accidental or forceful access to other peoples information via the internet and recognizes the different mobile phone models and compensates for their weaknesses, The best part is it supports social network links and a few extras that are not dealt with by the vCard protocol. The owner of the QR code is able to change and keep the contact information updated, So even after a move to a new address, rendering the old printed business cards obsolete, the QR code will still provide the current information.

3.7

Posted by: jeroen Steeman
Tags: ,
Categories: QR Code Business Cards | QR Code Use | QR Codes
Actions: E-mail | Post Information: Permalink | Post RSSRSS comment feed

QR code generator software

qr code generator software for websites qr code generator software for servers qr code generator software for desktops

Cloud computing seems all the rage and since Microsoft has a great offer for developers to get started in Azure, it was something that had to be tried. The goal is offering QR Code services, free and paid (very similar to this blog) but as a cloud service.

QR4 Cloud QR Services

The web environment

QR4 Cloud Computing Screenshot

Offers basic QR code generators where all services and storage are cloud based. Automatic maintence of deleting outdated temporary QR codes and basic security measures above those alreadt in place are all operational.

Next Steps

Create a Sharepoint QR Code Generator App for anyone wanting to use QR codes with Sharepoint. If anyone has other great ideas for QR codes in the cloud, drop me a line.

3.7

Posted by: Jeroen Steeman
Tags: ,
Categories: QR Codes | Cloud Computing
Actions: E-mail | Post Information: Permalink | Post RSSRSS comment feed

QR code generator software

qr code generator software for websites qr code generator software for servers qr code generator software for desktops

Can music be put into a QR code?

I was asked this recently. The practicle answer is no, the amount of data in a digital sound file is too large for QR codes.

The solution is to put the sound resource on a public network like Internet and then have the the QR code contain a pointer to the resource.

QR Code Music

The above example is a QR code that links directly to a MP3 audio file. Most smart phones with audio players will start before the file has been completely downloaded. If you do not want the audio files downloadable, the QR code should contain a pointer to an audio streaming service.

4.0

Posted by: Jeroen Steeman
Tags: ,
Categories: QR Code Audio | QR Codes
Actions: E-mail | Post Information: Permalink | Post RSSRSS comment feed

QR code generator software

qr code generator software for websites qr code generator software for servers qr code generator software for desktops

Find out what's inside those QR codes online.

You probably know about the Online QR Code Decoder that decodes QR code images you upload to it. The decoder API is similar, here you tell it the URL of the image on the Internet and it will return the contents as text string. It uses a simple HTTP web request method and returns a string.

Making use of a simple web request this QR code reader API can decode the contents of a QR code image anywhere on the web. It uses two parameters:

  • KEY - a required activation key to enable the API to perform the job. This key can be be requested for free here.
  • Image URL - the HTTP address of the location of the QR code image.

The API will return (as plain text) either an error message that starts with the text "ERROR:" or the contents that it has decoded from the QR code image.

3.8

Posted by: jeroen Steeman
Tags: , ,
Categories: QR Codes | QR Code Information | QR Code API
Actions: E-mail | Post Information: Permalink | Post RSSRSS comment feed

QR code generator software

qr code generator software for websites qr code generator software for servers qr code generator software for desktops

The top 10 QR code trenders according to Google

The global trend up to Q1 2012

Global trend for QR code

Top 10 Countries searching for QR code information

1 - Hong Kong 2 - Taiwan
3 - Thailand 4 - Netherlands
5 - Singapore 6 - Czech Republic
7 - Malaysia 8 - Austria
9 - United States 10 - Canada

A snapshot of the search term "QR Code'" as registered and provided by Google. What is clear is that besides Malaysia where QR codes appear to be settled in and the teething problems overcome, the reset of the world is still very actively busy with it.

The United States is at the nineth position, yet it accounts 90+% of all published opinions and articles about QR codes. It is Malaysia that interests me, as here the hype appears to have passed rapidly as it is the only coutry on the grid with a declining request rate for QR code information.

3.3

Posted by: jeroen Steeman
Tags: ,
Categories: QR Code Information | QR Codes
Actions: E-mail | Post Information: Permalink | Post RSSRSS comment feed

QR code generator software

qr code generator software for websites qr code generator software for servers qr code generator software for desktops

QR4 is maintained by Jeroen Steeman - Geleenhof 42, 5655 AH Eindhoven - Tel: +31 (0)6 130 33 743