Toronto ISV works on Quick Response software

A Toronto-based software developer wants to bring Quick Response (QR) codesto Canada, and an industry analyst says this may appeal to companies offering products and services to youth.

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Luna Development announced Monday its Blitzkap applications, which use a Windows Mobile development platform designed to let users create QR codes on smart phones or PDAs with cameras. QR codes are two-dimensional images similar to bar codes that contain information on links to Web sites or phone numbers.

QR codes were originally developed by Tokyo-based Denso Wave Inc. and are common in Japan. When published in print form – on billboards, transit ads, vehicles or other media – consumers can then take pictures of the images and have them converted to links, phone numbers or other advertising messages.

“The basic function is to eliminate typing and allow you to take a code off paper media and any media that’s printable and transfer it to an electronic form,” said Greg Hayden, chief technology officer for Toronto-based Luna, which is in talks with Canadian carriers – which it will not name – in hopes of making the technology available to Canadian businesses.

The Luna products announced this week – Blitzkap and Blitkap X – will work on any device with a camera with either the Windows Mobile 5 or 6 operating system. Hayden said the camera should be at least 3 Megapixels, and Luna is testing the product on other devices, including the Treo. The software needed to create the QR codes is free, and it will be up to the carriers and handsets manufacturers to make the readers available for their handsets, Hayden said.

If carriers make it available to their subscribers, the technology would appeal to a “niche audience” of consumers in their late teens or early 20s, said Michelle Warren, senior research analyst for Info-Tech Research Group.

“It’s a pretty cool technology,” Warren said. “It has to be an urban demographic instead of a rural or small-town (market). It will attract companies that would cater to that demographic.”

Hayden said entertainment companies, such as a production company advertising a new album, could include QR codes on banner ads on public transportation facilities. Mobile phone users could then get information on the album by taking a photo of the ad instead of typing in a long URL. “There are so many uses for this,” he said.

Blitzkap can convert QR images into links to Web sites, messages displayed on mobile device screens, contact information, phone numbers, short messaging system (SMS) text messages, photos, video clips or audio clips.

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