Post by BEcause XM
QR codes have proven to be a good way to allow consumers to access content. They have been widely adopted within integrated campaigns as a means to enter a promotion, visit a URL or download information and freebies. This is great in principle but the reality is that, for many people, the user experience is very clunky. Firstly, you need to have downloaded a QR code reading app and then take a clear picture of the printed code and only then can you start to receive relevant data. So although QR codes are functional there is a new technology being introduced which will remove the barriers: Near Field Communication (NFC).
NFC facilitates the transfer of information between two NFC enabled devices, via radio communication. It works when users bring the devices into close proximity (within 10cm). NFC is what makes contactless card payments possible for example. This technology is now being integrated into many new smart phones, with Apple tipped to add the technology to the iPhone 5.
NFC presents a massive opportunity for brands as it allows consumers to access content, share information and carry out mobile payments. Like QR codes it is a way to expand a real world experience into a digital domain but it is a much smoother experience. Being able to seamlessly spread a campaign across real and virtual touch-points often produces integrated experiences that have a good impact. In terms of brand experience, this makes the technology very exciting. As NFC works without the need for extra applications it is also bound to extend engagement and reach.
As corny as it sounds “the possibilities are endless”. We can think of many different uses, including:
- NFC enabled point of sale fast tracking, promotional entry or voucher download.
- Friend-get-friend mechanics activated via NFC content sharing.
- Real time social community building during live activations (maybe even as a condition of participation).
- Brand Ambassadors with NFC enabled uniforms.
- Fast track to purchase via “buy now” NFC touch-points.
QR codes will evolve, but we think they will eventually become redundant. Before NFC starts to pose a real threat there are other applications that are likely to erode the use of QR codes, such as Mobile Visual Search (MSV). MSV allows the user to take a photo of any product or logo to access content. Its wrap-around and three-dimensional recognition capabilities are interesting, but it will be NFC which lands the fatal blow to the content accessing model pioneered by QR codes.