Barcodes Deliver the Message

Take a look around and you will most likely notice these odd black and white squares popping up just about everywhere. If you have ever come across these tiny pixilated boxes and wondered what exactly they are and how they can be beneficial to the Real Estate industry, read on.

These codes, known as QR or Quick Response, provide a quick and convenient way to merge printed materials and digital materials by simply taking a picture. This is possible because these codes are actually two-dimensional barcodes which store links to websites, videos and contact information. Since they are only two dimensional, they can be easily placed on a variety of printed materials; making QR a great tool for marketing.

The information stored in a QR code is accessed by scanning a code with a smartphone camera. Many newer model smartphones come with a built-in QR reader while some of the older model phones require a free scanner app.

Examples of how new technologies, such as QR codes and Augmented Reality help obtain clients and market vacant spaces are already present in the residential home market. Many realtors have incorporated QR codes into marketing flyers, lawn signs and even direct mail campaigns. Incorporating these codes allow realtors to provide up to the minute information about their listings, get their contact information directly into an interested client’s phone and even gather statistics about their marketing efforts.

Some other industries which have begun to utilize QR codes:

- In June, the city of New York utilized QR codes to engage visitors who were in the city attending conferences and events around the city as part of Internet Week. The campaign, called “The City at Your Fingertips”, outfitted the Thomson Reuters building in Times Square with QR codes for 11 city agencies in an animated sequence on the building’s interactive billboard.

- New York City has also outfitted QR codes on the sides of 2,200 sanitation trucks which, once scanned, lead to a series of YouTube videos with instructions on how to properly dispose of materials and recycle.

- In July, Calvin Klein replaced three of their “typical” billboards with large, red QR codes. The ads featured the words “Get It Uncensored” along the top, and once scanned, led to a 40-second video for their Fall 2010 campaign.

- After the recent oil spill in the Gulf, a non-profit group created a QR code campaign featuring a blue code with an American Flag in the center. The code was also featured on the Thomas Reuter’s building in Time Square and when scanned, led to a celebrity-clad video urging BP to clean up the Gulf.

- Last month, AT&T released their own QR app for Blackberry and Android devices. The app not only allows users of these phones to scan QR codes, but also traditional barcodes. AT&T also allows customers to create their own barcodes via their own Create-a-Code website.

Here at RDM, we see great potential in the use of QR codes, especially as it relates to the commercial real estate industry. As more people become smartphone users, technology such as QR codes and Augmented Reality will provide an important aspect of interactivity which is crucial in the “always-connected” world we live in today. Contact RDM today to learn how we can integrate QR codes into your portfolio.