So I was a little off about Smart Decode. Actually their use is not limited to the Phillipines, and they are also known as mcodes. The pattern was developed by NextCode. You can download the client for free and generate your own codes online (as is evidenced by the new NextCode icon in my Mobile Access tab). Anyway, check out ConnexTo to see if your phone is compatible, download the client and start making codes of your own.


Ok, so mcodes are even cooler than I thought. Not only can you send pretty much any data you could send in an SMS or v-card (what about v-cal or i-cal?), but the patterns can be presented in a variety of shapes and colors and still be recognized. This is a lot more versatile than any other mobile bar code schedma I have seen. For instance, QR-Codes are always square, and using more than one color in the pattern may make them unrecognizable by handsets. mcode allows you to make square, rectangular and L-shaped codes (and possibly more). I haven't seen barcodes utilized much outside of Asia, but as I am moving to Amsterdam soon I will have a chance to take a closer look at the European market.

It is a little difficult to get non-sponsored applications to install on Japanese keitai since the carriers make sure that they have a hand in any application that runs on the devices there. However, as an habitual QR-Code scanner (I try to scan most of them that I come across out of curiosity) I think that the approach taken by NextCode is more user-friendly and has more versatile marketing possibilities.
There are some keitai in Japan that are incredibly frustrating to scan a QR-Code with. You sometimes see people concentrating, holding their keitai carefully with two hands to keep it steady long enough for the scanner to recognize. Others recognize the code almost instantly. It would be interesting to know how reliable the scans are and how long they typically take to recognize.

1 comment:

Amir Rozenberg said...

Nice post. You're absolutely right: Smart are using mCodes from Nextcode. Consumers can go ahead and create their own URL/Phone/SMS/Contact Information (more to come, watch this space) codes on http://www.connexto.com for non-commercial purposes. The code reader is freely available to download at http://wap.connexto.com.
Informational mode off :-)
This is a great opportunity to have someone from Japan comment on the features that drive consumer adoption. In the rest of the world people are exchanging comments on blogs with infinite wisdom on that. In reality, we have yet to see a good, sunstantial trial or launch that has enough consumer feedback to understand what they really care about.
you, however, live the code scanning in your everyday life. If you could reselect the code format, including the features that surround it (think aesthetic features, branding, code capacity driving compelling use cases), what are the factors that you would look at?
Just my 2 cents.