I did something decidedly analogue yesterday; I withdrew cash from a machine.
I know, I know, I should have used my NFC enabled smartphone – or my chip & pin card. But it turns out most cab drivers prefer cash.
On the screen was one of those ghastly animated adverts. Rather than selling me a mortgage or loan, it was advertising a fast food chain. The ad concluded by telling me to download the app – available on Android, iPhone, Symbian, and BlackBerry.
I was about to snap a photo of the screen, when all of a sudden I noticed something much more interesting on the receipt.
This is why QR codes win again and again. Black ink is ridiculously cheap, and blank paper is in plentiful supply. No retooling is needed to create them, they work with every camera phone.
Can you imagine the cost and logistics involved in converting a cash point to use NFC? Given the achingly small number of NFC handsets what would be the point?
On the back of my cab receipt, I saw another QR code.
Neither campaign is without its faults, but they serve to illustrate how the open nature of QR allows megacorps and sole traders to tap into the same ecosystem.
QR wins because it’s cheap to produce, easy to use, free (gratis and libre) and has wide consumer support.