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interlinkONE's John Foley on QR Codes

Published on February 1, 2010

Interviewer:  Hi.  I'm Cary Sherburne and Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with John Foley who is President and CEO of Interlink One.  Welcome.

John Foley:  It's good to see you again.

Interviewer:  You guys are doing some pretty innovative things, in terms of new media, social media, and I understand that you're also working with QR Codes: Quick Response Codes.  First, maybe you can explain to our audience what those are just in case they aren't aware.

John Foley:  A Quick Response Code, I wish I had brought a picture of one.  I saw your last interview and I saw you had that thing, I was thinking, "Wow.  I should have brought something like it."  It's a 2-D barcode.  Then what it really does, it can contain more information than the barcode you might be familiar with that you see on a package; those are just numbers.  A 2-D barcode can actually hold a short story or it could be a link to a website or it could be a link to a text message or a phone number.  And what you can do with these in marketing, you can take these 2-D barcodes and then place them on things like a postcard or you can put them outside of a restaurant and with the mobile technology coming along as it is you can actually take a picture of that --

Interviewer:  With your phone. 

John Foley:  -- with a phone and you have to get a -- what we call a Quick Response Reader.  And you can take a picture of that and it would actually maybe pop the coupon right in your phone or it could place an order, give you the coupon and then place an order for you to get some other kind of content: maybe a printed piece that they know you went there.

Now, it's another response mechanism in the world of marketing.  So in campaigns we have who are you going to go after and then you have your channels and then your medias, then you have the response mechanisms.  This is just another response mechanism that I believe that service providers could offer to marketing departments to help them be better marketers. 

Interviewer:  You know, there's a couple of other applications I've heard about recently with QR Codes and the first one is that -- and I think it's in Switzerland, if I'm not mistaken.  Like a place where they have plants, you know.  All kinds of different plants from all over the world; I forgot what they call it -- what they're called, but like an arboretum or something.

John Foley:  Oh, yeah.

Interviewer:  Right.  So -- a conservatory.  So they instead of having to rent those little tape headsets to tell you all about it they put QR Codes on the plants and people can just click and they can hear an audio thing or they can go directly to a website for more information about that specific plant.

So you can see this being used in museums and parks and all kinds of things.

John Foley:  I think you see it already today in real estate.  I did a convention a month ago in San Diego and the little carts that the guys and gals drive you around in, you sit in and they pay like a taxicab.  Well they had a 2-D barcode, a QR Code, right in the back.  I took out my camera, I took a picture of it and it brought me right to the new movie District 9.

Interviewer:  Okay.

John Foley:  Right.  But it could tell me everything about that movie and it showed me a short clip right there, right away.  So there's endless possibilities.  Even to go to a business card.  If you gave out your business card and it just had a barcode on it and your name, a Quick Response Code, you could tell a whole story about -- bring them to that website and tell the whole story.  So it actually has a lot more content and I think there's going to be rapidly adopted here in the United States.

Interviewer:  And of course Asia moves a lot faster than we do and what's happening now in Japan is they're putting QR Codes on tombstones.

John Foley:  Really?

Interviewer:  So now, I mean, maybe a hundred years from now nobody can read them, I don't know.  But for right now you could actually link to the memory book of that person or more about them than you could actually put on a tombstone.

John Foley:  Right.  Well and I think one of the reasons that there's rapid adoption there is that every cell -- mobile phone has these readers already built in.  So here we have to go get those readers, but they are available for, I would say, the majority of the phones even though people don't think at first, they still need to go get that QR Code Reader and download it and then be able to use that tool.

Interviewer:  But the thing about those tombstones, I guess it takes us back to pre-Gutenberg because now the print service providers are going to have to start chipping out stones.

John Foley:  I was going to say it's not going to be easy to print those but no I just think it's -- there's so much opportunity in these new medias and I think they really have a lot of legs in this industry and I think when they embrace them they really get there.

Interviewer:  Well, I congratulate you guys on being leaders in bringing this stuff into the product.

John Foley:  Well, thank you very much.

Interviewer:  Great talking to you, John.

John Foley:  I sure appreciate it.

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