Goverment May Force QR Codes Onto Energy Bills

Earlier this year, after 18 months of cogitation at the taxpayers expense, the UK government Department for Business, Innovation and Skills produced a “Feasibility study on the use of QR codes in the energy sector” (PDF). Unsurprisingly they concluded that “…adding QR codes to energy bills or statements is relatively low cost and technically highly feasible”. Today the government Department of Energy & Climate Change has taken up the baton and has produced a consultation paper on “Proposals to amend domestic energy supply licence conditions – requiring provision of key energy data in a machine readable format” (PDF). There is an example (below) of how a consumer will see the result after scanning one of the QR Codes if the government decides to make them mandatory. If you think that formulating, discussing and then implementing this proposal comes under the category of government waste, then you are probably right.

Apple QR Code

Apples originating from the Aomori Prefecture in Japan will each have an individual QR Code from next year, even if they are harvested from the same tree (image below). Aomori apples are famous for their flavor and size and 90% of them are exported. The QR Code resolves to a mobile site where the consumer can view information on the farmer, soil, pesticides used etc., in Japanese, Chinese and English. The QR Code system will allow the prefectural government and apple growers to follow the distribution routes of the exported apples.

How the QR Codes might look
Apple and Farmers details on smartphone screenshot

NFC Eavesdropping With A Shopping Cart

Researchers at the University of Surrey, UK have successfully used readily available and inexpensive electronic components, combined with a shopping cart antenna, to eavesdrop on NFC and HF RFID contactless communication. The shopping cart did not perform as well as a small inductive loop antenna (that could be concealed with the electronics in a backpack) but neither are likely to arouse suspicion. The researchers say that the eavesdropping distance can be as much as 100cm but is dependant on the strength of the magnetic field generated by the victims device. Companies like VISA, Mastercard and Google who have already developed platforms for contactless payments can now add eavesdropping to the existing security threats of skimming and relay attacks. Original paper here (PDF).

Shopping cart antenna for eavesdropping near field communication

Scanbuy Announces Advanced Analytics Platform

There are a limited number of metrics you can aquire with managed QR Codes but Scanbuy has wrapped them up in its new ‘mVision Insights’ on the ScanLife Mobile Engagement Platform. According to Scanbuy marketers using mobile engagement triggers such as QR Codes, NFC and Microsoft Tag in their campaigns can now:

  • See how many users are being retained across traditional media activity from print ads to in-store displays
  • View exactly when new material is hitting the market for the first time
  • Discover the cities that are seeing higher engagement or scans per user
  • Understand more about the consumer, such as native language, to uncover new markets
  • Compare performance across previous or current campaigns to measure effectiveness
  • View how traditional media is being shared via mobile social media channels like Facebook and Twitter

Screenshots below and more information here.

Engagement by city
Gender by age group
Day of week trend
Introducing mVision Insights

Xbox One QR Code

Friday November 22, 2013 is a big day for Xbox fans with the launch of the Xbox One and among a host of new features there is one feature that will be much appreciated by every gamer. It will no longer be neccassary, as it is for Xbox 360 gamers, to spend hours punching in 25 digit codes for redemptions, rewards and free trials. In the video clip below Larry Hryb Director of Xbox Programming at Microsoft demontrates just how easy it will be with the Kinect 2 and QR Codes. The resolution of the video is not good enough for me to scan the QR Code that Larry is waving 🙁