“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

Pablo Picasso was no stranger to success.

He was also clearly no stranger to action, sadly something Aurora council cannot claim when it comes to adopting and integrating established technologies.

Recently Clr. Pirri brought forward a motion to consider adopting QR codes for greater, and more strategic uses by the town.

I initially wrote about QR codes in a 100 Watts column over two years ago, you can read it here:

Since then QR codes have proliferated and seen used everywhere from film festivals ( http://2d-code.co.uk/qr-code-film-festival/ ) creative advertising by big brands ( http://mashable.com/2010/07/13/calvin-klein-qr-code-billboard/ )
to more routine applications in retail. Some interesting uses can be seen in this overview here:

Other municipalities have embraced the technology, and considering one of the prime directives of the recently adopted strategic plan is innovation I was interested in hearing how the town was excited to move this forward.

Unfortunately when the town’s Communication Manager weighed in he seemed rather apprehensive about the prospect yet failed to provide any best practice examples or examples to reinforce his opinion.

What was forwarded was some rubbish regarding malicious QR codes and the “potential” for fraud being “on the rise”.


And what does a “malicious QR code” look like? This:

That’s grasping, but not as much as the argument that adoption of the technology is not mature enough.

From a recent Marketing study QR codes are being adopted by more than one age range:

A pilot program would allow one to collect meaningful metrics as to use to determine R.O.I. and success, but that didn’t happen.

The Communication Manager offered forward that the town’s “my waste app” incorporated a QR code and that it reported 1000 downloads.

It may have had a chance to gain more, except that the low quality print output by the Error Banner had a significant impact on the readability. So much so I suspect the town would have a case to have those ads reimbursed or run again. I commented on that here:

It was also interesting to learn that last year’s Open Doors included QR codes. I don’t recall seeing anything, and no metrics were offered from it. Given how poorly that event was planned, not even adopting the Province’s laid out theme of honoring the War of 1812 how could anyone hope to gauge success from this.

QR codes won’t be successful in every application, as proven by this website that documents some more notable fails: http://wtfqrcodes.com/

But an Open Doors event seems like one where it could be exceptionally useful, and well embraced.

Clr. Pirri suggested adopting QR codes with specific purposes in mind, one was to reduce paper waste for reports printed in black and white by providing an alternative way of jumping to the digital versions.

Another suggestion was to amend public planning notices. Another area in which providing a direct link to contextual information on otherwise unread signage would be a no brainer.

Unfortunately for the town, a no brainer is who they chose to listen to.

The team at Scan who makes application layers to process QR codes recognizes that there’s nothing about QR codes themselves that is inherently crap, it’s the way that they’re implemented that’s the issue. You can read a great article on their recent developments here:

For a couple of years now, Monterey Count Elections in California has printed a QR code on their Voter Information Guide that will give voters directions to their polling location. Text next to the QR code reads “Scan for directions to your polling place”

Considering the Town of Aurora is exploring a significant, and unnecessary expenditure in overhauling their customer service one would suspect they would be in a much greater position to consider the incorporation of QR tags into that strategy as suggested here: http://blog.medialab3dsolutions.com/2012/05/qr-codes-sale/ and here: http://amazewall.com/

Unfortunately the town, including its Sesquicentennial committee is taking cues from an obviously ill-informed Communications department which results in this:

WTF kind of crazy inception like logic came up with the idea to place a QR code online?

What are you supposed to do scan your phone with your phone?

Sadly, while the world passes us by the Town of Aurora seems all too happy to play the fuddy-duddy card.

This inaction isn’t going to advance us towards innovation or sustainability, if anything it’s going to turn us into Bill Cosby:

Funny, but for all the wrong reasons.


Watts on your mind?

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