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Quick Reference Codes (by Dr. Jerry Osteryoung)

Dr-osteryoung-headshot-new"Our Age of Anxiety is, in great part, the result of trying to do today's jobs with yesterday's tools.” ~ Marshall McLuhan

When new technology comes out, you have to make a very careful assessment of whether it is appropriate for your business or not.

Additionally, you must ask yourself if this is a passing fad or will it change the way we use technology.  Here is one of those new technologies that, I believe will change the way you are currently using this type of technology.

Quick Reference codes are a new trend in software technology that will have wide applications in business.  Most commonly referred to as “QR codes,” they were developed in Japan more than 10 years ago and are widely used there, but are just now catching on here.  While a normal one-dimensional barcode can only contain 20 characters, a QR code can handle thousands.  Their value is that they can quickly and easily transmit information through a smart phone.

QR-imageThough QR codes are just beginning to see widespread use, now is the time to start considering how you can implement this technology so you can be ahead of the curve rather than behind.  So far, the most common use is directing a customer to your website, but QR codes can also be used to promote discounts and new products, and even as business cards.  If you go to http://www.qrstuff.com/qr_code_examples.html you can see what QR codes look like and read about the many ways the technology can be applied, including temporary tattoos.

Creating a QR code is quick and painless and there is no learning time required.  Even I was able to do it!  Using sites such as ScanLife and Kaywa, all you have to do is enter your website information, and your QR code is generated in seconds.  You can then copy and store the code for future use.

To read the QR code, you need a scanner app.  iPhone, BlackBerry and Android all offer a number of options.  The i-nigma and RedLaser apps for iPhone are both free and allow you to take a picture of the code with your phone.  The photo is converted into the appropriate action (visit a website, for example).

Likify is a neat service that uses QR codes to help generate “Likes” for your Facebook page.  Users who scan your Likify QR code are directed to a page where they can tap the “Like” button.  Find more information at www.likify.net.  QR codes are great, and they will be even greater with time.  However, it will take a while before adoption is complete, so when considering using QR codes, you will want to make sure you have the right audience.  Customers who are into sophisticated technology will be the ones most likely to accept and utilize QR codes right now.  You may also find that a certain amount of education will be necessary to teach customers how to use them.

Now go out and find out if QR codes can benefit your business.

You can do this.


Jerry Osteryoung is the Director of Outreach of The Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship in the College of Business at Florida State University; The Jim Moran Professor Emeritus of Entrepreneurship; and Professor Emeritus of Finance.  He was the founding Executive Director of The Jim Moran Institute and served in that position from 1995 through 2008.  His newest book “If You Have Employees, You Really Need This Book” is an Amazon.com bestseller.  He can be reached by e-mail at jerry.osteryoung@gmail.com.  All of Osteryoung's articles can be found in a searchable format at http://jmi.fsu.edu/Services/Jerry-s-Articles.

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