As I wrote last week, QR codes are taking off. These quick response codes can be automatically scanned by most new smartphones, and many free apps are available for older ones to read them easily. When scanned, the codes direct viewers to different websites on their phones. By scanning with a phone instead of having to click on a link, users can get information faster and with less effort.
Two companies in particular struck me as pioneers in this QR revolution. MogoTix, created by Scott Thorpe in San Francisco, has made using QR for tickets simple. Paperlinks, created by Hamilton Chan in Los Angeles, has done the same for creating QRs for businesses. But despite these companies taking QR codes and running with them, awareness of their existence is still low. Multiple surveys have shown that most teenagers still aren’t aware of QR codes, don’t believe they have the technology in their phones to scan them, or don’t use their phones for them at all. So while the QR market has gotten smarter and more efficient, it hasn’t translated with young users. A new QR service, TagMyDoc, may be what changes that.
TagMyDoc, created by Gabriel Deschenes, Alexandre Gagnon-Demers, and Julien Le Roux in Montreal, does exactly what its name says. Users can go onto the website and select one of their documents, like a resume or presentation, to upload. From there, users can tag their document with a free QR code. That code can then be scanned by anyone viewing the document, either online or via a hard copy. After scanning it, the viewer can read the entire document on their scanning device. The code can be scanned an unlimited amount of times, meaning that multiple people can get access to a document without wasting paper or sending countless emails with attachments. Visitors who do not create an account have a 14-day expiration date on documents, while no download restrictions exist for free basic accounts.
While their explainer video markets TagMyDoc in a business environment, there’s no reason why this couldn’t be the service that finally convinces younger mobile users to start using these codes. They could work nicely in a school setting. Students could use TagMyDoc to put codes on their essays and projects, making it easy to share between classmates and the teacher. Teachers could easily put TagMyDoc codes on worksheets and assignments, so that students could scan them to work on their portable devices. Parents could be incorporated into this as well, since they could check their kids’ tests and projects by scanning the documents and help their kids improve their grades.
The way for QR codes to stand out from the other uses for smartphones is by offering something completely unique. With this, QR codes are entering a part of our lives, the offline world, that links have no access to. With TagMyDoc, any piece of paper becomes, well, a Smart Piece of Paper. That advantage could very well be the breakthrough these codes need.