Online marketing and media solutions company bieMEDIA has predicted that the end of QR codes is on the horizon. The codes, which have gained acclaim from marketers all over the world, may be made obsolete by mobile visual searches. bieMEDIA claims that these visual searchers are more convenient for consumers and provide a more dynamic experience. In an effort to see this prediction come to fruition, bieMEDIA has invested in Mobile Acuity, a developer of visual search applications for mobile devices.
With a single, large investment, bieMEDIA has become the largest shareholder of Mobile Acuity. The two companies will begin working together this year to develop new mobile applications that combine the technical marketing strategies from bieMEDIA and the visual recognition technology from Mobile Acuity. These applications are expected to be available later this year.
Part of the reason the company is predicting the downfall of QR codes is because it believes the codes to be more trouble than they are worth. The codes have been met with lukewarm enthusiasm from consumers in western markets, though they are quite popular and well loved throughout Asia. bieMEDIA believes that visual searchers will be a more successful way of reaching out to consumers, especially as they become increasingly enamored with technologies like augmented reality.
Whether visual searchers will replace QR code remains to be seen. Thus far, marketers in the U.S. have yet to be pulled away from using the codes, even with several alternatives at their disposal. The major downfall with visual search technology for smart phones is that consumers will have to download an app to be able to get the technology to work. Mobile apps are needed to scan QR codes too, but more mobile devices are being released with a built-in barcode scanner, making this problem negligible.
Even if visual searchers become as popular as QR codes, they are not likely to survive for long as NFC technology takes the stage.