Print-to-Web Codes: Coming to a Magazine Near You
But isn't a URL still easier?
Last month, a French magazine called Amusement announced that it had become the â€śfirst-ever magazine connected to the Internetâ€ťâ€”linking a page in its magazine to the Web using RFID (â€śradio-frequency identificationâ€ť) technology.
The process, however, was something out of a James Bond filmâ€”readers were instructed to bring the page near a specially-designed â€śRFID interrogator,â€ť which was plugged into their computerâ€™s USB port. As we explained it: â€śThe RFID-tagged page has a unique ID number, which is then scanned by the device, unlocking exclusive online contentâ€”in this case, games, videos and assorted digital applications.â€ť
In other words, a pain in the ass for non-nerds.
Now comes the word that simpler print-to-Web technologyâ€”big in Japanâ€”may be coming to U.S. magazines sooner than previously thought.
According to a post on PBSâ€™s Media Shift blog, QR codesâ€”two-dimensional codes (like the one used as a Pet Shop Boys album cover, above right) embedded in print, scanned by Web-enabled camera phonesâ€”are starting to appear in European magazines. Once scanned, the phoneâ€™s Web browser is pointed to a site with, presumably, additional buying information, special offers or exclusive content.
This development would seem to have serious potential over the aforementioned French quarterlyâ€™s complicated use of RFID.
But given my own Web-enabled phoneâ€™s spotty coverage (hi AT&T!), the rise of URL shorteners and increasing ubiquity of textingâ€”wouldnâ€™t a dedicated (and shortened) URL printed in a magazine or ad do the trick?
UPDATE: As a below commenter points out, U.S. magazines are already experimenting with print-to-Web codes. (FOLIO: even profiled one provider back in March.) What I meant to say (and I assume Media Shift meant too) is that QR codes and similar technology may be gaining traction in the U.S. market soon. They're already here.
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