Scanning barcodes with your Smartphone, whilst out in town, has slowly proven to be very popular. It is an ideal way of getting information quickly on your smartphone. Barcodes, or QR Codes that are increasing in popularity, are now being used in travel guides. The idea is that when you take your travel guide away with you on holiday, you scan the barcode in your guide and you receive more information such as maps and relevant websites, direct to your phone.
QR Codes are used to provide a functional relationship between you and your guidebook, offering you more information and help via the use of your phone. QR Codes have recently taken off in Japan but remain relatively unknown in the UK and the US. There is no need for a barcode scanner as the QR codes can be read through the smartphone camera.
One book already taking up the new codes is “Earthbound: A Rough Guide to the Earth in Pictures” which has about 250 photos from all over the world. In the corner of the page is a QR Code, which offers a link to the location of what is pictured in the photo. You are able to see the location of the picture through the use of Google Maps.
Sounds pretty cool, especially if you are planning a round the world trip and can take advantage of actually going to see where the picture has been taken. I think this is an idea that has a lot of potential. Just imagine going on a city break and scanning a QR Code in your travel guide that brings up a map of where the point of interest is. You can then use this to work out how to get there or browse the internet to bring up the website to tell you the opening times.
Travel Guides do have a shelf life and the information in them can sometimes be inaccurate, what better way to get the most accurate and up to date information than to scan to relevant QR Code and connect via your smartphone to all the links you need. There is one worry though, will the technology be able to keep up? It’s great that the QR Codes are being used, but can you rely upon your smartphone being able to read them?
Personally I have had problems trying to get my smartphone to actually read the QR Code. There was a lot of setting up involved and some confusion before I was able to get it working. I have read multiple forum posts commenting on how hard it is, even for the techies, to get this to work. I am really looking forward for technology like this to become more widely used, but in order for it to have any chance of survival it relies up the tech being up to scratch and being easy to use.
Have you had any experience reading QR Codes with your smartphone? How easy did you find it?
Want to read more? Check out this blog article by Cybertips
The Rugged and Mobile blog.