QR No Longer on the QT in MMT

It wasn’t all that long ago that readers had to put up with doing a fair share of work and waiting to get free information.

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Remember Bingo Cards, or what were officially called Reader Service Cards?  Trade publications would place into their magazines, allowing readers to receive information about any company or product via snail mail after circling the number on the card that corresponded to a particular advertisement or product announcement published in that printed issue? Whew! That does sound like too much work and waiting.

Well today, thanks to all of the advancements in Internet usage and electronic devices, the work and waiting has become quite minimal. Reader Service is being done by QR codes, and MoldMaking Technology is joining in.

Wikipedia simply defines a QR code (Quick Response) as a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) designed to be read by smartphones. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, a URL or other data. I’m sure you’ve seen these codes in the commercial sense, but now they are hitting the trade scene.

Originally used to track parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes have expanded into many other areas, including entertainment, product marketing and in-store product labeling. Basically, any product about which a user may want or need additional information, a QR code is appropriate.

The use of QR codes is expanding in the U.S. via the smartphone market—Android, Nokia, Blackberry handsets, Nintendo 3DS, etc. all have QR code readers installed. The QR code was developed by Toyota subsidiary, Denso Wave in 1994, and is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed. That is truly the opposite of the old Reader Service Card speed!

A camera phone equipped with the appropriate reader application can be used to scan the image of the QR code to show text or contact information, connect to a wireless network and/or open a web page. Sounds like a perfect modern-day Reader Service method to me.

You may have noticed in last month’s issue that some of our industry suppliers for machine tools, software, mold components and hot runners have begun including QR codes on their ads—for example, Makino, Doosan, Hurco, DME, Dassault and Mastercam. These codes when scanned immediately take you to additional information about the company and its products—could be a video demo, detailed product specifications and images, training, customer story, etc.

And not just advertisers are using these codes in MMT. The case study on page 20—Solid Design Modeling Package Seamlessly Integrates Tools to Efficiently Organize Projects—uses a QR code, appearing alongside the title, that when scanned takes you to a special landing page hosting a video of the software at work within a mold application as well as a free trial offer. Check it out, and be on the lookout for these codes in upcoming issues.

 

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