Home > $$$$$$$$$, IdeaLab, JRC, qr, quick response, viktoria sundqvist > Idealab idea IN YOUR FACE!

Idealab idea IN YOUR FACE!

Although the project hasn’t started yet, we’ve been kicking ideas around pretty mercilessly at the Freeman’s parent company IdeaLab Facebook page, one of the Journal Register Company’s new initiatives.

(As mentioned on July 12, 17 lucky people and myself will be experimenting with the latest technology and tools. We’re getting gadgets – an iPad, and smartphone of our choice and a netbook – 10 hours of paid free time per week and $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$500 per month on top. There are no rules. You can even write “$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.”)

One suggestion by Viktoria Sundqvist, editor of the Middletown Press in Connecticut, got me going. What if you were to put Quick Response coding on the paper to unlock features on your smartphone? “This will allow readers to snap a picture of the code with their cell phones and immediately get access to our online edition as the phone will translate the QR code,” she wrote.

I gave it a shot.


Sweet. Can’t wait to get started.

UPDATE: I’m informed by a party-pooping publisher from Torrington, Conn., that it’s probably faster to type the web address (I’m assuming it’s a shortened version like http://bit.ly/a239b5 and not something like http://dailyfreeman.com/video/media-16549029/).

It is.

But what if the code was used for something like this?

In a more theoretical and utilitarian way (and I’m not even claiming to know how to do this), what if you use your lap top’s camera on a Quick Response code over a story about Kingston crime and a 3-D map of Kingston with stats (ala crimereports.com) popped up on your screen?

What do you think?

  1. July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    I think you're thinking along the right lines, but what you also need is an augmented reality layer: http://www.layar.com. THAT would be awesome.

  2. July 22, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    And I think you're shamelessly plugging an app. But I'll give it a shot once I get the tools.

  3. July 22, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    I think this is an exciting idea, too, Ivan. I did my own little QR code experiment last month. In my post about it, I linked to The Edmonton Journal's announcement of its QR code initiative. It's among the few North American newspapers playing around with this. If nothing else, QR codes invite readers who may not have been previously inclined to do so to interact with your mobile brand. The paper's there, their smart phone's there and there's these funky looking codes that allegedly tie the two together. Any remotely curious person is going to check it out at least once. After that, the key will be to point users to content that adds value to what they can get in print — not merely repackages it — and takes advantage of the special capabilities of mobile devices. For example, if you're doing a story about a food drive, you could instruct the reader, "Scan this code for the drop-off location nearest you." You'd pick up their location from their phone and display the nearest site on a nice shiny map that could also let them call the location or save the address in their contacts or driving directions app with a single click. Then, while you have them, why not have the landing page showcase other mobile features users may not realize the Freeman had? Say a Layar layer that superimposes illustrations of planned building projects as users walk past their proposed sites.(A Layar partner, by the way, just released a free cloud-based GUI/CMS that makes it easy for non-programmers to develop their own AR content.)As for the Torrington publisher's point: One, QR codes can do more than just send users to URLs. They can also send them a text message or have their phone automatically dial a phone number. The real advantage over shortened URLs, though, is that QR codes can be dynamic. There are services that let you change what they point to after they are created and used. Best of luck with this. I think you are onto something!

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