There was an exciting period around 2008 when developers figured out that smartphone cameras could scan QR codes and get people to web sites really quickly. It made a lot of sense as a proposition in many ways...inputting addresses on mobile is slow and error prone, searches can often highlight competitive offers, QR codes are easy to produce and best of all it was free and fast to generate a QR code.

But by 2011, interest in scanning had pretty much died outside of Asia. QR codes were resisted by marketing folks who didn’t appreciate the ugly, un-branded dots on their beautifully-shot artwork. Consumers were confused about what (if anything) would happen when they scanned these blobs and were unsure about what to scan them with. And too many QR codes put consumers on pages which didn’t exist or which were not adapted for mobiles.

Fast forward to the present and scanning is now making a rapid comeback...the need for apps to connect from the offline world to online services as quickly as possible makes a solution very appealing to app developers of all kinds. The fact that it can be used effectively from mobile to mobile too has been shown by Snapchat. Compared to radio-based technologies like NFC, scanning is much cheaper, faster and easier to deploy with no hardware dependencies.

The renaissance in scanning has been led by a renewed emphasis on visual clarity, direct functionality and more integrated execution. Gone are (or should be - looking at you Twitter!) ugly QR codes, replaced by app or brand-specific scannables that clearly signpost to a user what will happen when they scan them. We’re also seeing scanners being integrated prominently into apps, rather than living as standalone utilities. And best of all, the emphasis on the next generation of scanning is on delivering real user benefits.

Quikkly was created to make it easy for companies to add smart scanning to their app. Download the Quikkly SDK now to get a scanner and a code generator into your app in a matter of hours and get ready to deliver a better customer experience.