What You Should Know About QR Code Hype

Posted on January 25th 2012 by Lina Arseneault

Recently, I attended a live Gartner webcast “The Gartner Hype Cycle Special Report: What’s Hot for 2012” hosted by Jackie Fenn, VP & Gartner Fellow Emeritus.  In the hour long webinar, she reviewed the hottest new technologies and trends in this year’s Hype Cycles as well as which technologies will generate the most value and opportunity.

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As it turns out, QR/color code (what I refer to as QRart) is one of the hottest opportunities with a high benefit rating. According to Gartner (as of July 2011), QR/color code is positioned in the early “slope of enlightenment” stage with an 2-5 years estimated time frame to full mainstream adoption (i.e. reaching plateau of productivity).

Pete Basiliere,Tomoko Mitani and Sandy Shen provide analysis for the QR/color code portion of the most recent Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2011 report (pages 64-65).  They note that QR code adoption has been steadily increasing in North America since late 2009.  Following are a few excerpts from that section of the report:

Advice for marketing departments: QR/color codes are more than a link to a Web page. Think through the entire campaign and ideally provide unique landing pages for each application of the QR/color code. While public disclosure of campaign successes will be limited, monitor the spread of QR-enabled mobile devices, observe how your competition is using the technology and begin testing customer reactions to the codes.

Business Impact: Relatively advanced in Asia, the use of QR codes is poised to take off in North  America once the tipping point — a sufficient number of enabled mobile phones balanced by marketing campaigns employing QR codes — is reached. QR codes have the potential, when used in an integrated marketing campaign that leverages their unique capabilities, to drive significant revenue by providing the instantaneous response to user queries that enable calls to action that print cannot offer on its own.

  • Benefit Rating: High
  • Market Penetration: 5% to 20% of target audience
  • Maturity: Early mainstream

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The analysts note that unlike classic QR codes that simply sit off to the side of a page and take up valuable space in printed advertisements or on product packaging, QRart can be incorporated within the overall design without detracting from the image aesthetics.

This is exemplified in the work of @YiyingLu

Custom Wall Graphics for Austrade at the Computer History Museum by @YiyingLu

You can view @YiyingLu ‘s latest projects, including ‘Custom Wall Graphics for Austrade at the Computer History Museum’ and ‘Custom Wall Graphics + Promotional Badges for Startup Debut @ CES’ at http://blog.walls360.com/yiyinglu-latest-qr-art-projects/

Patrick Donnelly of QRarts captures the essence of QR/color codes perfectly when he states

“Forget everything you have heard about QR codes up to this point. The promise of QR can only begin to be realized by thinking of how they relate to both user experience and media integration. Everyone knows QR codes can help you get from A to B. However, the journey is part of a much bigger movement where mobile is converting impressions to interactions on a personal and a trackable level – which is rather remarkable.”

Read more of Patrick’s post at How to convert impressions into interactions on mobile.

Gartner’s estimation of a 2-5 year time frame to full mainstream adoption of QR/color code may reflect that, unlike what Patrick states – not “Everyone knows QR codes can help you get from A to B”.  As QR code readers become more pervasive on North American smartphones and bundled in mobile applications (e.g. Starbucks), the link from A to B will realize its full potential. Truly a visionary, Patrick Donnelly sees applications well beyond activation of print media.

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Will we soon see them appear on TV screens?

Additional References & Information:

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  1. QRlicious has great looking QR codes, mobile landing pages and sms marketing that is all very affordable. A mobile marketing campaign is much more then just a colorful QR code, it needs a mobile optimized site, sms texting, and creativity.

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