I just read a great re-cap post on “super brand’s” use of Augmented Reality from Chris Lake on Econsultancy and it got me thinking. Specifically about AR & QR codes. I call both technologies enabling technologies because they both enable the offline to be merged with the online. And they both enable deeper experiences with the brand. But QR codes – really any barcodes – just don’t seem to have the attraction, nor the experimentation to scale and use that AR has. Why do you think this is?
Aside from the end-visual difference between the two, I think it’s simple – QR codes don’t do for a brand what AR does. In other words – QR codes are just another way to access information. AR is another way to experience a brand. It’s quite a big difference.
At the end of the day, do we really need QR codes? We can duplicate the same experience through advertising a URL or a short code. Some would even argue that accessing a deeper level of information through a URL/short code is a better experience than through a QR code. You don’t have to understand what it is, how it works, download an app, take a picture. Just simply type or text for the information you want.
AR, on the other hand, is an experience unto itself. You can’t duplicate the experience any other way. And because AR is what it is, it allows brands to either create an experience or utility that can show things in ways that no other medium can. And that’s one of the fascinating things to me about AR – it transcends the mediums/screens we use to consume media. It lives, literally, somewhere between your hands in the real world and your eyes on whatever screen you experience it on. It can immerse someone in a brand far more effectively than any barcode can. And depending on the actual solution, it can probably immerse someone more than a TV commercial can, or a website, or a banner ad, or a “static” video.
QR codes & AR both have hurdles for sure. Start with the technology needed and the effort required to access either of them. But because of what each provides, do you think one will outlive the other? Or do you think that they’re both here to stay?