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Strategy Partners Share European QR Code Use

Published on October 21, 2011

Partner Oscar Dubbeldam with Strategy Partners in the Netherlands shares with Cary Sherburne the use of QR Codes in the European market and how quickly they're seeing the adoption rate versus in the U.S.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Oscar Dubbeldam, from Strategy Partners in the Netherlands. Welcome.

Oscar Dubbeldam: Yes. Thank you very much Cary.

Cary Sherburne: You know in the U.S. we’re starting to see more and more activity with QR codes. Mostly I see it, well at trade shows you see a lot of it, but New York City is a good example; there’s QR codes everywhere, I mean on the store windows, and on the garbage trucks even, telling you how to recycle. What about in Europe, do you see a lot of use of QR codes, or how’s that going over there?

Oscar Dubbeldam: It’s there, it’s known. Is it really a big hype yet? Not really. A lot of organizations are trying QR codes for all sorts of things; for advertisements and getting you to their website, getting job profiles, or job advertisements, and they will just scan these QR code and you (will come to) you can apply directly. Yes, you also see it on shops, corners, in very big signs, small signs, so it’s getting there. The struggle is still how to scan, more or less, QR codes, which is, let’s say, the big hurdle. If you’re asking a lot of people around in Europe, they recognize those strange things, those strange signs, but they have no clue at all what to do with it.

Cary Sherburne: But do they… Is there a big penetration of smart phones?

Oscar Dubbeldam: Oh, yes, for sure. Yes, there is.

Cary Sherburne: So, they just haven’t downloaded the app or they don’t really… because what we see a lot of times in the U.S., is we see the QR code that tells you what to do, it says snap this with your smart phone or visit www, you know. So, they give you a choice of actually going to the website on your own.

Oscar Dubbeldam: Like I said, yes we have the smart phones, but not, let’s say, the QR reader is not installed, and then it becomes, more or less, still difficult to use them. Because to be on the smart phones, our primarily used for calling and playing games.

Cary Sherburne: Okay, okay. And with the smart phones, you do a lot with interaction with vending machines and other things.

Oscar Dubbeldam: Not at all. No, not at all.

Cary Sherburne: I guess, we’ll say in Asia, I guess.

Oscar Dubbeldam: Yeah.
Cary Sherburne: I think one of the more interesting QR code applications, because in Japan, they’re everywhere, I mean they put it on the produce to tell you where it came from, and all that. But one was putting it on people’s tombstones so that you could have more about their life than you could just inscribe it on a tombstone. So, you go to the cemetery, and you snap that QR code, and you know everything about that person’s life. I think that’s really cool.

Oscar Dubbeldam: That goes a little bit too far from the European perspective, I think, because privacy is still a good thing. If you start talking about privacy, that’s also the relationship to the world of receiving a document which says, well, we have seen that you have done these things in the past, then you are out of the office.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, exactly.

Oscar Dubbeldam: So, no, no, not that way.

Cary Sherburne: Thanks a lot.


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