Smart codes and your new iPhone

A term you will become much more familiar with over the next few months is ‘QR code’. Here’s why. CHRIS THOMAS

Chris Thomas

By Chris Thomas

Telstra spent a bit of money on the weekend down here in Melbourne Town. It took out a full “special advertising feature” which was wrapped around the Saturday edition of The Age’s business section.

In spite of the fact it was an “advertising feature”, it was an interesting read about a fascinating “new” piece of technology.

QR codes (or “quick response” codes) have actually been around since the mid 90s. Unlike traditional product bar codes which are only one dimensional, smart codes introduce two dimensional scanning, enabling much more data to be stored. A traditional barcode can store up to 20 digits, whereas a smart code can contain up to 4300 alpha numeric characters.

QR code

Because of this, they can store much more information, including website addresses, text, email addresses, contact phone numbers, phone widgets (applications) and upcoming events. It makes it easy for people to import all that fiddly data into their phones almost instantly.

The principal benefit is your ability to easily create codes and place them on to your printed material, your business cards, posters and even a t-shirt. If you visit this link you’ll see how easy it is to create QR code.

In Japan, smart codes are everywhere. Manufacturers have placed the codes on their newspaper and magazine advertising as well as individual product packaging. This has allowed people to connect with more information about products and services they’re interested in without having to use their desktop or laptop computers.

If you’re more visually motivated to learn, you can see a quick demonstration on YouTube!

I think we’ll see more of these codes around in the next 12 months as the adoption of 3G phones dramatically increases, allowing users to easily access the internet with their phones.

Obviously Telstra appears to be driving the technology at present, mainly because it makes a lot of money selling “data” on its NextG network plans. Uptake of mobile phone web browsing (and subsequent use of QR codes) will largely depend upon the cost to consumers of accessing the internet, and currently that cost is extremely high.

The iPhone launches today, but interestingly you’ll probably need to install a third party application on your new iPhone to access QR code technology as Apple doesn’t appear to be shipping the phone with it pre-installed. Given the investment, Telstra has probably pre-installed the application, but I don’t know if the other carriers have.


Read more on iPhone, Telstra, Optus and Vodafone


Chris Thomas heads Reseo a search engine optimisation company which specialises in setting up and maintaining Google AdWords campaigns, Affiliate Programs and Search Engine Optimisation campaigns for a range of corporate clients.

For more Online Sales blogs, click here.



Walter Adamson writes: In Japan QR codes are everywhere and the application is pre-installed in handsets. It works exceptionally well with reading from almost any angle, allowing for phone/camera movement and decodes accurately, because of the design of the QR code. Shopping catalogues and for example youth fashion magazines are littered with them. Yes we’re 15 years late but it’s still good to see them here. The frustrating thing about the Telstra promotion was that when I went to the website the special advertising feature promoted for downloading the QR application to my NextG phone it failed – several times and every time!! I tried another NextG handset and that failed to download successfully as well. Not a good start.


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