Sunday, September 2, 2007

QR Code Billboard In Taipei

Pictures of QR Codes being displayed on big billboards are easy to stumble upon when one tries to research the subject, but they usually take place in Japan. Thanks to my colleague Yuki, the word is that a QR Code billboard has been spotted in Taipei.

The QR Code contains a URL and it looks like the purpose of this advertisement is to sell more advertisement, which will be placed on the packaging of free tissue papers given out in parking lots. The format of the QR Code content doesn't adhere to the standards suggested by Taiwan's Open Mobile Internet Alliance though. If you like to see the actual billboard in person, scan the QuickMark barcode for location information on how to get there.

Since the person who made this QR Code probably wasn't aware of the content format issues regarding barcode generation, I thought I'd do a simple test to see how some of the popular mobile barcode readers perform under this kind of situation.

QuickMark recognized the QR as simple text, but allows one to pull up Notes and access the URL link, add to bookmarks, add to contacts, or perform other functions from there.

Kaywa is the other reader that allows the user to browse the URL as the author of the barcode had intended. Both i-nigma and ScanLife were only able to decode the QR as regular text strings and provide no further functionality. So it looks like although Kaywa and i-nigma both use 3GVision's engine, they each have their own parser and handle the decoded data differently.


stan wiechers said...

Just a general thank you for your very insightful postings!

mike said...

Thank you Stan for your kind comment and for!

dlethe01 said...

Hi mike,

Flashcode is the 2D barcode (Datamatrix) developed by Association Française du Multimedia Mobile (AFMM).
AFMM - French operators.

Could you please tell me if Quickmark, Kaywa, i-nigma,...can read and decipher all these Flashcodes?

Thank you.

mike said...

Hi dlethe01, I believe you already know the answer to your question. Since Flashcodes are based on DataMatrix, reading and deciphering them is not the problem, but rather what to do with the decoded data. As you know, Flashcodes contain data formatted like 5412082001000155. And according to Orange's specs, mobile barcode readers are supposed to redirect the user to a certain server with the 13-digit ID following 541. So the question is: which server has the corresponding data for the requested ID? Since Flashcode is backed by AFMM, I suppose one of its partners/affiliates maintain such proprietary data. Other mobile barcode readers can still follow the spec and redirect to whichever server/site they want, but unless they also happen to have information for that particular ID, it's pretty pointless.

Anonymous said...

How are QR codes decoded? How do mobile phones do it (I know what to do just not how they do it)

mike said...

Hi Mr. Anonymous, if you are into the programming details, you might want to check out Google's ZXing project.