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NFC vs. QR codes — Is it a fight to the finish or a well-mannered footrace?

One of the SXSWi lectures that I attended was called 11 Reasons that QR Codes Suck. I won’t list all 11 reasons here. It’s sufficient to say that the major theme of this talk was trying to figure out why QR codes haven’t caught on quite as much as some had hoped. The speaker admitted that while they are used quite a bit, but not everyone liked using them. And when asked the ever-important question why people didn’t like QR codes, the majority of the users answered: They keep me from being mobile.

Wait. Just a second. The scanners are on MOBILE phones, right? How do QR codes impede that mobility? Users have to stop walking, unlock their phone if they have it locked, find and open the app, position the scanner over the QR code just so, and then the user is taken to a URL where sometimes they receive more guidance about where to go/what to do from that point on. That’s at least two or three minutes of finagling, opening, downloading, etc., when the user might be just walking by with a group of friends and they really didn’t want to stop.

The speaker didn’t have a solution, except to use QR codes where the user is already resting. For example, in a magazine ad where the user might be seated and not mobile.

I researched Near Field Communication as I was asked to do so by one of the people who used me as their surrogate for SXSWi. So i investigated, probed, asked about NFC and if it will replace QR codes totally, or are there uses out there for both technologies? For those not in the know, NFC is a technology that allows a user to swipe their NFC-enabled device over something that has a chip. The information contained in the chip is then passed on to the phone. NFC can be used for payment purposes, gaining information about a sale and so much more. It’s been around for awhile, and the technology seems to be constantly updating/changing as more uses are found for it.

My question to you is do you think it’s a fight to the finish with only one winner standing or is it a well-mannered footrace where these two technologies can show off their starring qualities and share the limelight?

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