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2012 Mobile Engagement & QR Codes Highlights

As 2012 comes to a close, it’s always good to take a step back to reflect on the evolution of everything over the past year. 12 months are an eternity in the mobile space and 2012 has been particularly full of innovations and remarkable events. Here are some of the year’s highlights:



The London Olympics have been to Mobile Engagement what Woodstock has been to Rock ‘n Roll: the moment where Mobile Engagement officially joined the mainstream by becoming the focal point of social, m-commerce, location-based experiences, and apps. The ScanLife Mobile Engagement Platform helped bring all of these experiences to life, generating 36% more connections than Foursquare check-ins during the games, according to published LOCOG numbers. Check out the Olympics video and case study to see it all in action: Olympics webpage to download the case study!



After months of speculation, Apple finally released its 4G-enabled iPhone 5. Of all its new features, the one we are most thrilled about is Passbook. The proto-wallet stores boarding passes, loyalty cards, coupons, event tickets etc. to display the information in the form of a mobile barcode (QR Code, PDF-417, and Aztec) to be used in a store, concert venue or wherever appropriate. It’s a big first step towards enabling m-commerce, m-payments, and m-identity, and more. This approach exposes mobile barcodes to millions of people around the world and is among the best things that could happen for the mobile barcode industry. Thank you Apple!



2012 will be known as the year when scanning mobile barcodes became fun. The ScanLife app now includes new social features: users can like what they’ve scanned and share their favourites with their networks – a great way to create gift wish lists. Users can also create an electronic contact card in the form of a QR Code right from the app: enter your details et voila! You can share your contact details in one scan with the “QRcard” feature. The app is now sexier too: iOS users can choose over 20 themes. Dreaming of the beach?  We have a cool summer theme – palm trees included.  If you’re more of a sports nut we have an entire pack dedicated to baseball, basketball, football, and more. On the other hand, Android users are enjoying a whole new user interface with The Hub. The Hub is the first thing you see when you open the app, and it gives you easy access to everything in ScanLife – your history of scans, live scan activity from around the world, the ability to customize your scanner screen from Settings, and of course the scanner itself from a super cool animated iris. All of these new features are just the beginning in a major evolution to make it easier than ever for users to discover and share information.

Intrigued? Try it out yourself:

Google Play Android Store

Apple App Store



2012 marks the first time when the majority of mobile users possess a smartphone in the USA and Europe. This fact has profound implications for businesses: smartphones now serve as the most common starting point for our digital lives across devices with nearly 100% of smartphone owners using their device to go online every day, 85% of smartphone owners seeking local information and 1 in 5 make a purchase after finding that information. As a result, mobile is evolving into a channel in its own right. The table below shows the most popular mobile tactics businesses use to engage their customers, according to research by eConsultancy.

Several factors explain the prominence of QR Codes as a mobile channel. For one, they’ve become a highly effective medium when executed properly. Research by Nellymoser shows that average response rate is 6.4%, versus only 4.4% for Direct Mail and the 4.3% for catalogs, according the Direct Marketing Association. Indeed, as our own trend report shows, 2D barcode scanning increased 71% during 2012.



Retail is perhaps the domain where Mobile Engagement has had the greatest impact. Research by eConsultancy shows that the number of consumers who have made a purchase on mobile since 2011 have more than doubled, from 12% to 28% in the US and 13% to 25% and in the UK. For retailers and brands, this trend brings unprecedented opportunity to connect with shoppers. For example, Tesco, which pioneered the concept of virtual store during 2011, extended its virtual stores in Q1. As a result, their app is now the number one shopping app in Korea, with nearly one million downloads since it was launched last April. The most impressive of all is Chinese retailer Yihaodian, which opened 1,000 virtual stores located in iconic areas of Shanghai, Bejing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The video below shows what a virtual store looks like.

The ubiquity of mobile has also caused the “showrooming” effect, which is the tendency consumers have to go to a brick and mortar store to do for merely research and then purchase the goods online. In fact, in the UK, 43% of respondents said they had used their mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping (up from 19% in 2011). Among US consumers, the number has increased from 20% to 50% year over year. Our whitepaper, “The Showrooming Effect. How Retailers can use QR Codes to Create Opportunity”, outlines several ways to tackle this obstacle.



To help brands create more relevant mobile experiences, the ScanLife team worked around the clock to launch dynamic new features:

1 – Mobile Landing Pages with Analytics

To aid our customers in understanding post-scan behaviors, we’ve added another valuable piece of business intelligence to the ScanLife platform: any ScanLife business customer that creates mobile landing pages from our platform can now view click-tracking data generated from those pages. Learn what this means for your business now.

2 – Language Detection

We already have codes that change dynamically based on the operating system or number of scans. Now we are thrilled to announce our latest innovation which uses language detection to deliver content that is unique to the language of the user’s device. Find out how it can be used here.

3 – Designer Codes

In April, ScanLife released custom design functionality, where marketers can create a custom design code, with their logo embedded, in seconds. But wait, it gets better: our QRcheck™ technology automatically verifies the readability of the code. If it doesn’t meet a certain level of readability, it will automatically warn the creator. Discover more now.



December was another fun month here at ScanLife! Our highlight was been winning the Business award for Mashable’s Innovation Index for 2012. We’re completely honoured and humbled to be recognized among the prestigious group of leaders who are revolutionizing the digital and social landscape around us. You can check out Mashable’s formal announcement here. This award is especially meaningful for our entire team at ScanLife, which is driven by the mission to create new and better ways to transform our lives through technology.  We’re grateful to everyone who voted and appreciate your continued support of what we do here.

As we look to 2013, we are more energized than ever to develop new ideas, push the boundaries of possibility, and unlock tomorrow’s innovations.

We wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year!


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Mobile barcodes have changed the way we discover & share information from the world around us. We welcome your thoughts & ideas on how to make this technology matter - today and in the future.

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