More than just a phone

It started with a simple Nokia pay as you go phone that was only used for emergencies and has evolved into a miniature computer. Four years ago, I didn’t have texting. And, I must confess, it was only a little over a year ago that I (finally) got a data plan. Now, my cellphone is an extension of my life. I can’t go anywhere without it – What if someone needs me? What if I need to get in contact with someone? What if I want to take a picture? Or, what if I just want to search the Web?

The technology of the cellphone is continuously developing into something bigger and people are moving forward with the trends. According to the Cisco Visual Networking Index (VNI), global mobile data traffic grew 70 percent in 2012 reaching 885 petabytes per month, and is projected to increase to 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017.

Here are some other interesting facts from the article:

  • Average smartphone usage grew 81 percent in 2012
  • The number of mobile phones is expected to exceed the world’s population by the end of 2013.
  • Smartphones are expected to surpass 50 percent of mobile data traffic in 2013.

It is obvious with such a rapid growth that marketers are going to capitalize on marketing to this medium, and QR codes is one great way of doing so. In short, Quick Response (QR) codes are a barcode direct cellphone users to specific online content. Various companies have used QR codes in their advertising. One company was Tesco. Their goal was to become the number one store in South Korea without adding more stores, which was accomplished through QR code outdoor advertising. Tesco made the store come to the people by creating virtual stores that blended into people’s everyday lives, like subway stations. All people had to do was scan the QR code of the product and it was in their shopping cart. Check out the video to see the whole campaign. Tesco really knew their market and understood how they could accomplish their goal. The ROI was tremendous for them, and this is just one example how QR codes can be used for marketers.


Have you ever scanned a QR code? What was your experience like?

If you use a smartphone, do you think you could ever go back to having a phone without the Internet?


11 thoughts on “More than just a phone

  1. I think that like most people in our field, I remember when QR codes where the big hype. We looked at a lot of stuff with them in my undergrad. I have scanned them however I do not frequently do it, I actually currently do not have the app to do it. I think that it is a cool thing in theory but it is not ver convenient for users. Having to open the app scan, it the code…gets annoying. I would almost rather just visit their site on my own.
    I personally do not think that I could go back to having a phone without internet. I use my phone for almost everything. I am constantly looking up something, checking my grades, emailing, doing something that involved the internet from it. However, I will say that I do prefer to use the internet from my computer or my iPad instead of my phone just because it is easier to navigate, multi-task, and read the content.
    I agree the statistics in the readings from this world were incredibly impressive, it seems like a majority of the classmates felt that way. I can only imagine where the mobile world will actually be in ten years!

    • Like you, I don’t have the app on currently on my phone to scan QR codes. In fact, I have never once scanned a QR code. While it may only take a minute to download the app and scan a code I have never been inclined to do so, there was no direct benefit or incentive. I do find it interesting that as two people who majored in advertising in undergrad neither one of us really engage with this type of advertising on a personal level. It makes me wonder what the ROI is for a company and if it is worth it. Ultimately, this could come down to how the campaign was executed – for Tesco, the ROI was great.

  2. I have scanned a QR code before…many times, actually. The experience was not all that troublesome or anything; I pulled out my phone, opened up an app that could read QR codes, scanned it, and then tapped on the link that it provided. It was all pretty user friendly. But, it was quite a lot of work and time required on my part. I think QR codes are a great technology, but I think they are just the first phase of it and will be replaced by something that will be easier on the consumer.

    I think this depends on the person and a large part on their profession. I need to be connected to the internet so that I can monitor email accounts and our company’s Facebook page. I do know, however, that my brother hates his smartphone and would prefer his old “dumb” phone. But, for the majority, I don’t believe they could/would switch back.

    • I originally got my smartphone because I was elected to a position where I needed to be able to access my email 24/7 and be prompt with responses. While I no longer hold this position, I don’t think I could go back to my regular phone. In part this is because my job requires my to access my email and also because I like to Tweet or post pictures on Instagram or Facebook. It really is my lifeline. A fact that I found interesting in the Cisco VNI was that “smartphones represented only 18 percent of total global handsets in use in 2012.” Maybe this was so shocking to me though because I am surrounded by people who are in the same industry as me and have a smartphone, but I would have thought a larger percentage of the population would have a smartphone. Despite this (shocking) statistic, smartphones still represented 92 percent of total global handset traffic as compared to other mobile devices.

  3. It has been a while since I’ve scanned a QR code for personal use, but the last time I can recall was to obtain a cookie recipe off of a bag of chocolate chips. I already had a QR reader on my phone so I did not have to go through the hassle of downloading one. After scanning the code the recipe opened up in my browser as expected. It was a pretty smooth process.

    After accepting a position in Ad Ops I was peer pressured by my co-workers to make the transition to a smartphone. I saw no need for one prior to this position. Now, I would definitely miss the ability to quickly look up information, business locations, etc if I were to give up my smartphone.

    • It’s difficult to go to something more simplistic sometimes when we are all used to being “spoiled” with this technology. We have all discussed how our phones are our lifelines through blog posts and class lectures. While you would still be able to make phone calls and text, your lifeline wouldn’t be quite the same.

  4. I have never personally used a QR code other than a one off experience for a class I think. I just haven’t seen how they can be more useful than Googling something or typing in the URL. The extra hassle to lineup the code, etc isn’t worth it to me. I think if Google Glass or a solution similar becomes popular then you code see the revival of QR codes or an evolution of the technology. The move the Minority Report makes me think of the type of technologies we may see in the next 20 years and I think an evolution of QR codes along with Google Glass could be one of them. I’m not sure if that type of integration into the human eyes will happen, but it’s a possibility.

    I could go back to not having a smart phone, but I’d definitely prefer not to. For work purposes, it would be very tough since I’m used to a higher level of efficiency due to the smart phone. I don’t think I am quite attached to it as others though. Now if I had to do without computers, I think that would be much tougher for me personally. If you had to choose between your laptop and a smart phone, which would you choose and why?

    • As someone who has never actually scanned a QR code, I wonder if I made a point to regularly scan them when I saw them if I would change my mind. Maybe I think I wouldn’t like it because at this moment I don’t have the need for it. I used to say I would never want or use a Twitter and now I spend more time than I should looking at my Twitter feed or tweeting. This could be a fun little experiment for me to try to see if my mind changes.

  5. I scanned a few QR codes when they first started cropping up but I haven’t scanned one recently. I dunno, they usually lead to a commercial website or microsite and it would have to be something special for me to visit but I haven’t seen many from companies that I’m interested in.

    I don’t think I could go back to a phone without internet. I use my phone all the time; checking email, facebook, instagram, looking things up, streaming music, etc. I can’t even handle when I go over my data limit and get switched to the slow connection. When I’m using my phone I want to see things fast since I am usually only quickly checking something or passing time. Couldn’t deal with no connection at all.

    • What would be something that you think would be worth scanning? Most of the time QR codes are used for advertising purposes, but there are the occasional times when a company really comes up with a brilliant idea. Like the way Tesco used QR codes. If I walked into the subway in Boston and there was a virtual grocery store, I would definitely take advantage of that and go through the hassle and download the QR code scanner. Living in Boston, the bigger hassle is walking 15 minutes to the grocery store and carrying all your groceries back. Another great usage of the QR codes was by JC Pennys. People were able to record a holiday message in a card and the recipient of the card could scan the QR code to hear the message.

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