WPIX did a great story on the new Valpak apps, and couponing in general. (WillowTree helped design and develop the Valpak iPhone, iPad and Android apps)…..
Much ado has been made about the utility of QR codes in every day life. Just a year ago, the phenomenon was likely foreign to the vast majority of people, but it seems that at this point, most major companies attempting to boost their mobile presence are horrified by the idea of releasing a product that doesn’t include some form of QR code on it. Where will this mystical, magical QR code take you and your mobile device? Nobody knows for sure, but the question must be asked – who exactly is scanning these eyesores on company products, or is anyone scanning them at all? Furthermore, will this technology – seemingly innocuous and a great tool of convenience for marketers and consumers – burn itself out not only due to overuse, but also due to misuse?
Chantal Tode’s recent article on Mobile Marketer regarding QR code usage by corporate marketing departments highlights the trials and tribulations that mobile outreach efforts are facing with QR-laden promotions. There are some success stories, to be sure, and some companies seem to be on the verge of concocting the secret sauce of what makes QR codes a component of a successful campaign. However, the massive number of useless, superfluous, or even broken QR codes out there threatens the future viability of these tools for the savvy mobile marketer.
To illustrate my point, one of my colleagues relayed to me an interesting (read: hilarious) implementation of a QR code in a marketing campaign. On a subway train, he noticed a particular print ad on the inside of the train wall for a bedbug removal service. The best part – it had a QR code to scan in case you happened to want more information about treating your bed bug problem. On a crowded subway train, who would be crazy enough to actually pull out their phone and allow the general public to witness them declaring that they and their family may be laden with disgusting creatures?
Of course, such an example is obviously a reduction to the absurd, but exemplifies a systemic problem that may infest (ha) mobile divisions of corporations if they are too cavalier with this novelty item. QR codes seem to represent a proverbial “gold rush” of expanding consumer touch points to new frontiers, but we’ve seen these kinds of overzealous technological adoptions flop before, and it’s not unreasonable to believe that publicly-displayed QR codes with no real value to the prospective scanner may be treated like a bed bug infestation in the near future – if they aren’t already.
Rest assured, however, that WillowTree’s application of QR codes in the mobile development space will not be subject to such technological faux pais. We carefully analyze use-case scenarios for all of our applications – especially those utilizing emerging technologies like QR codes augmented reality, and the like – and consult with our clients heavily to come up with optimal solutions for deploying these media solutions, be it for iPhone, Android, Windows Phone 7, or whatever platform may be on the horizon (Facebook, anyone?). When it comes to mobile scanning solutions, we keep it tasteful. :-)
With numerous colleges throughout the country releasing native apps for iOS, Android, and the ever-growing iPad as portals for interaction between teachers, students, alumni, and other constituents, the writing is certainly on the wall for major changes in the way schools think about digital communication with their constituents. Mashable Tech writer Jeff Kirchick’s recent article about “5 Ways Higher Education is Leveraging Mobile Tech” will definitely jog your imagination about what mobile development might be able to accomplish for you as an innovator in your institution’s technology department.
As a fairly recent graduate, it’s very exciting to watch the proliferation of mobile development in academic institutions first-hand. The idea of having a University of Virginia app probably would have seemed a touch ridiculous while I was still slogging through McIntire, but now that I’m on the ground floor of university app development, it’s a little hard to believe that I relied solely on e-mails and desktop-based collaboration portals for information that could have been walking with me the whole time. But we’re not just talking about tonight’s homework assignment or the hours for the career services office – Kirchick’s article shines a light on functionality that makes a university mobile app more than just a simple tool of convenience.
Imagine grabbing your textbooks in a crowded school bookstore and checking out with a single swipe of your SmartPhone rather than painfully waiting in a long line with about 30 pounds of paper on your back. Imagine touring a campus with the ability to point your iPhone or Android camera at a building to get its full history and purpose. Imagine instantly polling all of your students on a classroom question with graphically-displayed outputs on the projection screen in real-time.
Guess what: there’s really no need to imagine – these things are already here. Kirchick’s Five Ways are just a sampling of some of the marvels that our grade-school teachers probably smiled about in their sleep that are now at the behest of any academic institution willing to take the leap.
We at WillowTree Apps are certainly doing everything we can to lead the charge. With our robust iOS and Android apps for educational institutions like the University of Virginia, Syracuse University, and the McKinney Independent School District, we are working with academic institutions to keep them on the cusp of mobile academic innovation. Find our apps in the iTunes store or the Android Marketplace and see for yourself how we can help your institution bring your imagination to life.
Woot! TechieZine listed us as one of their top Android app developers — thanks! Nice to be appreciated!
BIA/Kelsey brand new Android app is live today. Looking great. Download it from the Android Market and let us know what you think!