With Microsoft announcing plans Monday to shut down its Tag technology by 2015, it cast further skepticism around the future of QR codes and other mobile activation platforms like augmented reality
and image recognition.
Taking up the topic in a panel at the Mobile Insider Summit, executives from QR code vendors like Scanbuy and Blippar acknowledged codes have often failed to deliver a good user experience.
Scanbuy CEO Mike Wehrs, whose company acquired the licensing rights to Tag, said QR codes, especially early on, only linked to a Web site instead of providing compelling content within the technology itself. “A lot of the experiences have been crap,” chimed in Patrick Aluise, vice president, head of media, at Blippar. He said codes, or image recognition technology like Blippar’s, are just triggering devices for whatever a brand is delivering.
As media companies and brands improve those experiences, he’s confident that consumers will come back to codes. But fellow panelist David Wachs, senior vice president, mobile, ePrize, remained pessimistic. He criticized QR codes’ lack of virality and cumbersome design, saying it’s easier to simply type in a mobile URL than access a code.
For his part, Wehrs suggested Scanbuy isn’t giving up on Tag, calling the pickup of rights to the technology from Microsoft “a very
big deal with us.” Along with its own EZCodes, he said Tag was the only other remaining proprietary format in the market.
Wehrs told MediaPost Mobile Insider Steve Smith that Scanbuy will upgrade Tag this week with features found in its other codes.