The QR code thrust its way into our lives, appearing on posters, magazines, and as stickers on new products. The optical tags are everywhere, but their time is limited thanks to a much more dynamic system from Quikkly.
Quikkly wants to replace the QR code with the Action Tag, making the real world more interactive and remove the barriers that current tags often present, by giving simpler access to online content.
QR codes were originally designed for use by the automotive industry in Japan, and are still commonly used for logistical purposes, like stock tracking. That's where the problem lies: it's an industrial solution being used in a consumer context.
There's no dedicated reader, for starters, and it's not inherently branded, so although you know it can be scanned, you never know what it's going to do.
Action Tags resolve this. They strip away a lot of the visual mess associated with QR codes and introduce logos and words so you know what it relates to and what it's going to do. For example, both the tags below do exactly the same thing.
You can produce an Action Tag that will let you play a track on Spotify, Like a brand on Facebook, follow someone on Instagram or watch a video on YouTube, for example.
Action Tags can let you share map locations, connect to free Wi-Fi, or add dates to calendars. It's a really versatile system. Best of all, it's clear what you're going to get when you scan, because it carries a recognisable logo with wording.
Quikkly aims to provide deep links into mainstream apps, so you go directly to that content, rather than just landing on a URL, which is the case for QR codes.
If you want to print your own tags on business cards, put your music video on a poster, or get people to follow you on Twitter, you're free to do so.
That makes for a solution that's not only better looking on the front end, but incredibly flexible on the back end too as the entire process is designed to be mobile first.
Every Quikkly Tag can be customised to a degree, adding your own pictures if you want to, but also adding colour and customising the wording.
Quikkly Mobile was founded by Ken Johnstone, formerly of INQ Mobile, and Fergal Walker, formerly of Facebook. Johnstone told us that the idea came about when he met Walker in a pub one day. There was a poster with static but identifiable icons for Facebook and Twitter, but the information wasn't assessable: it was still a case of manual entry.
The idea was to make those "buttons" actually do something through an app, and bridge the digital divide.
"Whether you are a brand seeking new ways to communicate with consumers, or a regular person wanting to get your stuff out there, the opportunities with Quikkly are endless," said Fergal Walker, CEO of Quikkly.
"Action Tags are meaningful shortcuts that make life easier by getting people to the things they want in everyday life as quickly as possible."
Currently Quikkly is all free to use but in the future some of Quikkly will be bundled into a "pro" side of the system. Importantly, however, you'll still be able to create Facebook and Twitter follows freely, so anyone can promote themselves.
Tags and tagging might be a rather dry subject, but Quikkly's dynamic approach might just change the status quo: it's definitely one to watch, as we're pretty sure you'll be seeing Quikkly Action Tags all over the place very soon.