Are QR Codes the new Mini Disc?

QR Codes

My mate Matt says yeah.

Thank goodness the end of this clunky technology is in sight. Don’t get me wrong, the idea of jumping straight to a digital message is great, but QR Codes are like Mini Discs, a stepping stone to a better solution. So what’s the future? NFC that’s what.

Near field communications mean you just swipe your phone over a poster and voila, it takes you there. Rumour is the iPhone 5 will have NFC as standard. The reality of the mobile wallet is so close my bank account is already shaking.

Justin Williams

Justin is the Creative Director of D4. He is an internationally experienced designer specialising in the development of brands into digital. Justin thinks everything is interesting.

  • Paul Herron
    Posted at 12:48h, 14 October Reply

    Couldn’t agree more, and the image makes me chuckle every time. QR Codes are a definite flash in the pan. Not just clunky, but ugly too.

    Near Field Communications is the future… bring it on.

  • Ed Fairfield
    Posted at 15:34h, 18 October Reply

    Yes but here I am speaking from a marketing department in the drainage industry, where people show off a new ringtone they’ve downloaded and marvel at touchscreens not needing a stylus. QR Codes are tomorrow’s technology in our industry, and we’re using them today. NFC is like so, next week. Way too far ahead to even contemplate planning for.

    • Paul Herron
      Posted at 15:47h, 18 October Reply

      Not that far away… as iPhone 5 lands next summer (allegedly!)

  • Alan Matthews
    Posted at 13:37h, 21 October Reply

    Ah, but… Check out how QR codes are being used to add value and authentication to the world of design and creativity… NFC ain’t gonna cut it in that context. If you work in a design agency the use of this technology gets you protected.

    • Justin Williams
      Posted at 14:05h, 21 October Reply

      I admit you’ve found a good use for the technology here… but unless you have a vested interest in promoting QR Codes (like say owning my guess is most people just look at them and think it’s some bar code thingy…

  • Dennis
    Posted at 20:02h, 22 October Reply

    Good chance that NFC is the next big deal, but look at the math. Smartphones of all kinds are about a third of wireless users. About 80% of those use the phone for email and net, so under 30% access today even for QR. While there are a good selection of NFC equipped phones available, they are the minority. If 100% of wireless users decide today to go NFC smartphone, it would still be close to two years for that to take effect due to upgrade plans. So NFC takeover may be a process that takes several years. Also consider that the content threshold for NFC is much higher than for QR. Generate a QR code, launch a free website and you’re in business, even on a single-site basis. My guess – evolutionary, not revolutionary changeover.


  • rob mackenzie
    Posted at 14:50h, 23 October Reply

    I agree but not so soon. QR codes are already integrated into many products, marketing streams and manufacturing lines, also geographically, more commercially used in Japan and Korea alongside NFC. In the rest of the world, QR is a good stepping stone leading up to NFC and other wireless technologies that will come our way to support the way we interact and transfer information. I look forward to the day when we can hold our phone over a product to receive information or purchase it via NFC. At the moment, QR is a relatively quick way to transfer information or connect online to a brand or product, if you are familiar with it. For example, NFC will be a huge boost to brands, consumers and staff. Via mobile devices and environments that are ‘connected’ and NFC enabled, brand experiences and relationships will be enriched … I recently wrote about how the smartphone with NFC will support staff and customers to have a seamless retail journey in and out of the store. The article is available here:

  • Paul
    Posted at 17:26h, 23 October Reply

    Don’t blame the technology – blame the Creative companies!

    Check out this article – the 5 ideas are amazing and exactly the sorts of applications which can make a difference.

    Our current (crumby) use is for a direct link to an iPhone/iPad app in the app store – but at least that is aimed at the intended audience – if you don’t have an iPhone our app will be of no interest to the reader…

  • Marty Goldberg
    Posted at 14:06h, 28 October Reply

    I love the QR codes I see on transit media – on subways and in underground stations where there is no network connectivity! – Now that’s creative!

    • Paul Herron
      Posted at 08:40h, 01 November Reply

      Yep, the ones underground are great!

  • Guest
    Posted at 08:41h, 11 November Reply

    NFC Posters have now started sprouting up in London. However, the only people who will be able to take advantage of them (at the moment) will be tourists from Japan. So, although there is no point in rolling out UK / European campaigns with NFC right now it does mean that as a creative agency we should be thinking of how we can use this technology to drive brand communications some time soon… as lets face it, the writing is on the wall for QR Codes. And don’t get me started on ‘malicious’ QR Codes!!!

  • Paul Herron
    Posted at 16:53h, 17 November Reply

    Ahem… 45 Carriers Endorse NFC as Mobile Payment Standard:

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