Scan my Aura for a Quick Response……..
I’ve talked before about how companies are trying to make it easier for us to access location specific information via our mobile phones. Simplifying how we interact with the world around us should make it easier for us to find useful stuff – and of course help marketers push relevant offers and ads at the right audience in the right location. The real issue is not the technology itself, as there are multiple solutions out there (from Shazam and QR codes to Aurasma and Google’sGoggles), but actually making it simple for mass market consumers to use.
So two new developments caught my eye as they seek to address the issues that potentially hold back this type of technology. Firstly, Telefonica has announced a major deal with Cambridge-based Aurasma (now part of HP) which will see it roll out the technology as part of its mobile advertising push in 25 countries across the world, starting with the UK. On the face of it this is great news for any company looking to create Auras (the Aurasma images that you scan to launch content) as it will potentially make the technology mass market. However details of exactly what Telefonica will roll out still seem sketchy, and it needs to start with educating its users about the benefits that the technology will bring.
The second development has the advantage of being much more straightforward. Gibraltar is aiming to make it easier for tourists to access information on landmarks and attractions by equipping them with prominent QR codes. Scan them and you access relevant pages from Wikipedia, essentially removing the need for tourists to lug around paper-based guidebooks.
There are some neat ideas here to encourage mass market adoption – Wikipedia is a known, respected brand that will encourage visitors to scan the code and by communicating with the phone, content will be served up in the tourist’s mother tongue. But there are still a few barriers to overcome – roaming charges (though Gibraltar is looking at free wifi to combat this), persuading non-techies to download a QR reader app in the first place and making sure the content is compelling enough.
This is where a combination of education and offers needs to be deployed. In the short term the Gibraltarians need to incentivise people to scan a code, with free gifts/prizes that are actually worthwhile. And secondly, they need to put helpers by every QR code, explaining what they are, what they do and how they enhance your holiday. It may be a bit 20th century but without this you’re only going to get hard core users taking the plunge. The future of marketing is hyperlocal and mobile-based (at least until we embed chips in our brains) but education, simplification and free stuff are the only ways that it is going to cross the chasm and reach the mainstream.