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 QR Code

An innovative bar code technology, QR Codes, first developed in Japan by Denso-Wave has been introduced in Singapore by Singapore Press Holdings. Branded as ZapCodes, the two-dimensional bar codes enable mobile phones equipped with cameras and special software to download information or link users to Web sites for more information. According to the Straits Times

“ZapCodes add an interactive element, a new dimension, if you will, to 2-D advertising. They pack more value into your print advertisements. They open up a whole new vista,’ said Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) marketing executive vice-president Leslie Fong. ZapCode allows users to simply point their mobile phone cameras at a ZapCode icon and click. When installed on a mobile phone or PDA, the software reads and deciphers the ZapCode and triggers the sending of data back to the mobile device. The data, in the form of a WAP (URL) site, may contain extra information and pictures, vouchers, music and even videos. 

Having experienced this same technology while in Japan, I saw firsthand how this technology has the potential to drive traffic and usage to both the online and print versions of the directory. One of the executives I was working with needed information about a restaurant and saw the directory ad had a QR code. With a snapshot from his mobile phone camera, he was able to quickly download the pertinent contact information and store it in his address book. 

In the United States, this technology has been used primarily for product data, replacing outdated simple bar code technology. Japan and Singapore, however, clearly recognize its wider marketing potential. According to eMarketer, more than 60 percent of U.S. mobile phones have built-in cameras, providing a solid base of potential customers who could use the QR code technology. 

If a critical mass of QR codes could be driven into Yellow Page directories, it would represent the largest collection of QR codes in one place, adding another level of relevance and usefulness to the print directory. Utilizing QR codes in the print book would drive traffic to Internet Yellow Pages and profile pages that provide more information, online coupons and video, thus driving consumer interest in contacting and purchasing products and services.   

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Hi there,

    As a marketing representative from SPH’s ZapCode division, I would like to point out that we’re not marketing QR codes under the ZapCode branding. We’re marketing colour codes from our technology provider, Colorzip. This is a proprietory mobile barcode technology which we believe is far superior than QR codes.

    For more information, please visit


  2. Darren — Thank you for the offer to understand SPH’s approach to this new technology. Please feel free to contact me so we can have a more detailed discussion about your experiences with this product over the last year.

    As I mentioned in my post, this type of print to online technology has the potential to improve the relevance and usefulness of printed media and to highlight additional rich online content. Hopefully your product will catch on in other countries.

  3. I think it’s worth repeating Darren’s point, which I’m not sure you’re acknowledging — these are *not* QR Codes, which is what most people are talking about when they talk about 2D barcodes and the sort of print to online connections you are highlighting.

    I think it is worth pointing out that QR Codes (and Data Matrix) are open standard, and freely usable. Given that this format appears to store about 100 bits of information per symbol, I am guessing that it can only be used in an “indirect” model wherein the code encodes an ID that must be resolved against a thid-party server to do anything. QR Codes do not work this way; contents are encoded directly. This is also, as Darren says, a proprietary format requiring a separate proprietary application to read, in comparison to QR Codes for which several free open readers exist.

    That said, the simplicity of the code and use of color make this a *very* readable format, technically, for even low-end camera phones.

  4. Sean:

    I would love to discuss this in more detail with you and Darren. Please use our site to contact me directly.

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