Apps: The Next Hurdle for QR COdes

Following up on yesterday’s post about QR Codes at SXSW – now that QR codes are literally everywhere, users need a unified, easy way to scan them. I think that, like we will see in the first wave of NFC devices, QR Code scanning must be built into the base OS of a phone, or delivered as a single, unified app. Forcing consumers to choose from hundreds of different QR Code scanning apps, and making them download them to get basic functionality is not going to help speed adoption. For this to truly work, users must be able to scan the codes right out of the box, without needing to go through a complicated app download process.

Nick Ford of blog QRAnywhere recently wrote a good piece on the situation at hand:

The market may seem fractured to many but recently it has become crystal clear to me. I believe it’s meant to be fractured, for innovation purposes, it needs to be. I believe there WILL be multiple types of adopted mainstream 2-D barcodes and hundreds of apps that scan them, as well as other emerging technologies, to transmit physical to digital value via the mobile web and encourage advertising engagements.

I do agree with Nick that an open market and fragmentation does breed innovation and progress. However, there’s also the risk of fragmenting to the point where there is no clear easy solution for consumers, and the entire concept dies. With QR, I believe we’re at a point now where consumers need to be delivered the basic QR scanning functionality from the OS level, and added features may be layered on with innovative apps.