Monthly Archives: July 2016

Ways to Use QR Codes to Boost Your Business

Ways to Use QR Codes to Boost Your Business

QR codes are made of thousands of alphanumeric characters that store a lot of information about a service, offer, product or company. These codes, when scanned using mobile phones (the camera ones, of course), redirect the user to a web page containing information about a product or service. Thus, you can share a video, presentation, even an ebook that talks about the product or your business by using these codes.

In this Buzzle article, we have suggested a few ideas regarding the placement and information to be stored in the QR code, so as to improve your business. We have also mentioned case studies of the companies who have benefited from the usage of these codes.

Accommodation and Food Services Industry

Our Idea

◆ People in the hotel business can use QR codes to redirect scanners or users to a mobile website that offers sweepstakes by taking a survey. You can place the code on menu cards, tables, cutlery (glasses), and the check (bill).

◆ If you are running a restaurant where musical nights are a norm, you can offer tickets for the next show, at discounted rates for scanners.

◆ For others, you can give away coupons that can be availed on the customer’s next visit. You can chip in a quiz prior to the coupon give away, just to engage the customers.

◆ If you provide accommodation facility as well, you can redirect the scanners to a photo gallery of the hotel’s lobby, the rooms, the dining areas, and other fun places. At the end of the gallery, you can give them points that should eventually lead to discounts in room rates.

Case Study: Heinz

The food industry saw a huge boost in 2012, when Heinz Ketchup launched a QR code-led marketing campaign to promote their recyclable PET plastic bottles that used the PlantBottle Technology. They ventured into a strategic partnership with Coca-Cola, who eliminated around 30K metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2010.

About the QR Code

These codes were placed on their restaurant bottles. When scanned via smartphones, the scanners were redirected to a mobile website which offered sweepstakes by taking their trivia game. Around 57 eco-friendly prizes were given to people who answered the green knowledge questions correctly.

Gains to the Company

The company reportedly received around 1 million scans as a result of this campaign. The spokeswoman for H.J. Heinz Co., Pittsburgh, PA, Tracey Parsons said,

Based on the great response we received from the PlantBottle QR code―more than 1 million scans―we found this to be an effective way to drive awareness and excitement in restaurants, where the special QR code bottles can be found.

Similar Campaigns

The company launched Wounded Warrior QR code campaign, where customers were educated about veterans program that Heinz carried out.

Mobile Industry

Our Idea

◆ You need to first select the perfect spot for placing the code. In retail stores, QR codes can be placed right below the displayed model. Upon scanning, the customers should be redirected to a document that will list out the various carrier plans along with details about the accessories of that particular device.

◆ You can team up with review websites and print media, to publish the codes alongside the relevant information. When the customer scans the code, he should be redirected to the company’s store where the device can be purchased.

Case Study: Verizon

Verizon launched the QR code campaign for those customers who visited their stores. By scanning the codes, the customer ended up getting a free smartphone from the manufacturer. A California-based firm Hipscan prepared these codes for Verizon.

About the QR Code

Upon entering Verizon’s store, visitors were presented with a QR code that took them to Facebook. The scanners then had to share this code on their Facebook profiles. If any of their friends used this code and ended up buying a Verizon mobile, the person who shared the code won a smartphone.

Gains to the Company

This was only a week-long campaign which saw a 3,400% ROI and about 25,000 Facebook shares. There was a 200% increase in the overall sales. The company invested about USD 1,000 in the campaign, and earned about USD 35,000. Their advertizing tagline for this campaign was:

Come into any Verizon Wireless EVO² store, scan the Hipscan, tell your friends about the great deal and get a brand new cell phone or smartphone.

Similar Campaigns

In 2010, Verizon, in association with ScanLife, used QR codes in print advertisements, in-store displays, and direct mail. When visitors scanned the codes, they could download apps from their app store. This led to 150,000 scans in just three months.

Gaming Industry

Our Idea

◆ You can add QR codes on the game’s CD label. When the buyer scans it, he should be eligible to play a bonus level of the game, which will help increase his points tally.

◆ Another approach that the gaming industry can take is to link trial versions of games to the codes. Upon scanning, the scanner can play the trial version and can avail discounts if he wishes to buy the game in future.

Case Study: Homefront

The gaming giant took the less traveled path of in-game advertising, to promote their games. However, unlike other companies, Homefront hid these codes in the games.

About the QR Code

The game had about 10 QR codes, of which, 9 were hidden at different places in the game, while one was present in the manual that was provided with the game. On scanning these codes, gamers could unlock wallpapers and exclusive videos. These videos had additional information regarding the current level of the game.

Gains to the Company

The company had whopping results, thanks to the campaign. About 30,000 scans were witnessed in just 2 days after the start of the campaign. This figure rose to 50,000 scans alongside 30,000 wallpaper downloads and 18,000 video views in the first month itself.

NGOs

Our Idea

◆ Your NGO can team up with manufacturers and products, and upon buying their products, the scanned QR code will automatically donate money to the NGO, while the scanner would be eligible to avail offers on future purchases.

◆ If you are a heritage protection NGO, upon scanning the QR codes, the scanner should be provided free tickets to the said heritage site.

◆ Similarly, if you are running a child-care NGO, you can link discounts on products made by kids to the QR codes.

Case Study: The Cure Starts Now Foundation

This non-profit organization, in partnership with Graeter’s Ice Cream, started a QR code campaign known as Cones for the Cure. It was started by Keith Desserich and his wife Brooke after their daughter died at the age of six, due to brain cancer.

About the QR Code

When these codes were scanned, users were redirected to the Cones for the Cure page. Once there, if the user entered his/her contact information, he/she was offered a coupon for a free scoop of Elena Blueberry Pie ice cream. For every contact detail entered, Cones for the Cure donated money to the foundation.

Gains to the Company

This promotional event lasted for three weeks. The organization raised more than USD 25,000 as charity to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer.

Similar Campaigns

The foundation relaunched the campaign in September 2013, with an increased fundraising target of USD 45,000. Guests who visit the company’s website can donate USD 1 or more towards the cause.

Retail Industry

Our Idea

◆ For the retail industry, the main objective has always been to increase sales. QR codes can be linked to a document where details regarding future sales (discounts, offers) are available.

◆ You can also ask potential customers to scan these codes to avail free parking offers, at your mall. You can also provide free parking area, during peak hours.

Case Study: Emart

The Korean retailer created a 3D QR code which was set up all over Seoul. The target was to increase sales during the lunch hour. The campaign was known as the Sunny Sale.

About the QR Code

The code was designed in such a manner that only when sunlight fell on the code, it could be seen completely. Thus, the code could be scanned only at noon, during 12 to 1 p.m. Scanners got a special 25% discount coupon that could be redeemed through the company’s e-commerce site or at their store.

Gains to the Company

This campaign led to 25% increase in sales during the lunch hours. The company doubled the locations since the promotion took off in 2012.

QR codes, though are a great marketing idea, haven’t been effectively used by most companies. In comparison to other modes of marketing, these codes are cost-effective, and can boost profits. Try to place these codes in eye-catching areas, and watch your business grow.

Realize the Importance of Technology in Schools

Realize the Importance of Technology in Schools

Technology is the need of the day. Technological advancements have made us take a big leap towards success. Every technological reform is a small step towards development. Every invention in technology is a step towards the progress of mankind. Centuries ago, hardly anyone would have imagined working on a computer, or being able to communicate with people across the globe with the use of web and cellular technology. But there were some who dared to dream of such revolutionary changes and made the ‘impossibles’ possible.
Ours as well as our future generations are lucky to be able to witness technological reforms. We are fortunate enough to lead a life of luxury and comfort, owing to technology.

To be able to use it comfortably and effectively, we need a basic knowledge of technology. Its ubiquitous nature just tells us how important it is, in every aspect of life. How can the education sector be an exception? As schools are the founding years of one’s education, it is important to train the students in technology at that stage itself. Also, technology can be adopted as an aid in teaching. Moreover, when everyone is going the e-way, how can schools fall behind? Technology is important in the education today. Let’s become more tech-savvy as parents and/or teachers. Let’s introduce our children to technology, right from school.

How and Why is Technology Important in Schools?

For the Students

As technology is bound to rule our present and future, it is good to obtain a know-how of using it. Children learn faster and can adapt to changes relatively easily. If they are trained in technology during school years, they have high chances of becoming experts in the field. An early beginning is always beneficial in the long run. We are surrounded by technology and are using it all the time. The earlier our kids can master its use, the better for their future. And that’s the main reason why we should train them in using it, from school age. If they learn to use it at a young age, they won’t have to struggle with it as adults.

Studies have shown that children conversant with technology show improvements in their writing, reading, and math skills. The use of computers and video games is known to improve the hand-eye coordination in kids. Technology has also contributed to the decrease in dropout rates, improvement in student attendance, and enhancement in their learning abilities. Technology in school benefits the children during their higher education. It lays a strong foundation of a successful professional life.

In Education

Computers can offer livelier explanations of various subjects (with the help of animations, videos, graphs, etc.). The Internet can be used as a tool in teaching. It can help both teachers and students in obtaining vast amounts of information in less time. The inclusion of technology in the process of learning makes it enjoyable, thus inviting greater interest from the kids. With the right use of lights and sound, information can be rendered more effectively to a large group. The knowledge from around the world can be accessed with ease, with the help of technology. The audio-visual format in which information is presented, makes it easier for the kids to assimilate it.

Technology can ease the communication between the teachers, students, and their parents. A teacher can quickly notify her students of important updates or anything they or their parents need to know. The students can collaborate better using technological means. Computers can be used to do and store homework and other school assignments. Students can be saved of the effort of having to carry books to school. They can carry all the material they need, in the digital format instead.

For the School

The accounts, administration, and other office procedures (such as admission, leave, attendance, etc.) can be simplified by the means of technology. Records of students, teachers, and other school employees can be maintained in an electronic format, thus saving paper and also ensuring robust storage and better data security. Timetables, the exam and holiday schedule, the plans for projects, trips, sports, and cultural activities for different classes can be organized in a better way, in computers. With the use of networking, this data can be accessed from anywhere and by all the concerned departments. Data for the school library, sports/gym equipment, and the records of the sale and purchase of inventory can be made and maintained with the use of computers. Thus, technology can bring all the office work in the e-format.

Moreover, the school can host a website of its own holding information about its activities, achievements, history, future plans, etc., thus increasing its reach. Publicity through social media can help the school earn new admissions and good staff. It can also help the institution advertise for positions to be filled, thus aiding the management in recruitment.
Thus we see that technology not only benefits the school students but also eases office work. It should be a part of what students learn, it should be a part of teaching so that learning becomes more fun, and it is of great help to the management to maintain staff and student information, as well as other important data related to the institution. This is because technology allows for an effective way of storage, access, and distribution of information. It’s time we realize its importance in education and implement it the right way.

Smartphone Addiction Is Stressing You Out

Smartphone Addiction Is Stressing You Out

Did you know…
… that the term that describes the fear of being left without a mobile is called Nomophobia. It is an abbreviation for “no mobile phone phobia”.
How long has it been before you touched your phone? Do you feel restless or have a tingling sensation in your palms when you are not using your smartphone? Do you carry your smartphone everywhere, including the bathroom? Do you check if the screen has lit up every five seconds, irrespective of whether you are having a conversation with your family, in a supermarket, or in bed? Do you have to check and respond to every notification or call? Do you refuse to

switch off your phone or charge it more than once in a day?
If the answer to most of these questions is in the affirmative, then you might be suffering from smartphone addiction. Smartphones like iPhones, Blackberrys and Android phones are the new must-haves for most adults and youngsters.

A research done by the Pew Research Center has shown that, in 2012, around 46% of all American adults owned a smartphone as compared to 25% adults in 2011. Most of these users are smartphone addicts who are constantly hooked to the fascinating piece of technology in their hands

Is Smartphone Addiction Ruling Your Life?

Owning a smartphone that helps you stay connected on social network and makes your work easier is great. But, when technology starts ruling your life, then things can be a little problematic. For most addicts, smartphones are like extensions of themselves. They check their phones after waking up, before going to bed, when on a vacation and on weekends.

The need to check updates for news, social media connections and emails can be crippling, especially if a person is tuning out their family and friends to do so. When they are unable to do the above, there is stress and anxiety. Here are some signs that smartphone addiction could be stressing you out more than you realize.

Feel the Need to Carry it Everywhere

If you break out into a cold sweat and get anxious every time you find you have forgotten your phone or do not find it in your hand, then you can safely say that smartphone addiction stress has hit you. Studies done by a software company Apigee has shown that a lot of smartphone addicts are unable to do basic things like wake up in the morning, maintain relationships, navigate to work, find dates or even feel happy without using their smartphone.

You Need to Answer the Phone

Are unanswered calls and texts making you restless? Whether you are in the bathroom or sitting with a hot date across you, you constantly think about answering the phone or responding to text messages. This might be a cause for concern. The compulsive need to check your smartphone for social media or email updates not only adds stress, but also ruins your relationship with family and friends.

You Get Depressed without Calls

You stare at the screen waiting for a call, an email or likes for your photos on Facebook. When the screen fails to blink, depression sets in, stress levels increase and you start snapping at people around you. Sounds familiar? Well, this is what smartphone addiction stress can do to you.
“Did the Phone Just Ring?”

If you are a smartphone addict, then chances are that you may also be suffering from phantom vibration syndrome. The phantom ring is a term used to describe the feeling or sensation of your phone ringing when actually, it is not. Researchers who studied this audio illusion phenomenon have termed it as “ringxiety.” The participants for the research were people who used their phone extensively, and sent a lot of text messages. The vast exposure of smartphones in their lives may have led to a “psycho-acoustic phenomenon.” This is related to the way the human brain interprets sound. Since our ears are attuned to certain frequencies especially in the range of 1000 to 6000 Hz, we become conditioned to hearing those sounds.

Family and Friends Take a Backseat

How many times have you seen people on dates or on a vacation surfing their smartphone rather than talking to the other person? While there is nothing wrong with answering urgent text messages or calls, but if it becomes a regular feature then you are sure to damage your relationships. Research by Ofcom, a telecommunications regulator in the UK, has shown that around 51% adults and 65% teenagers use smartphones for socializing with others.

Sustaining social connections and friendships just adds to the stress. Moreover, when conversing with tweets or texts all the time, you lose the ability to converse with people. So your conversations are sprinkled with a lot of WTF and OMG and not to forget LOL (which is sometimes used as a verb like “I was lolling with joy).

Social Media Stress Disorder

It may not have been classified as a psychological disorder in any medical journal, but ask any parent or spouse of a smartphone addict and you will know exactly what it is. Updating and browsing numerous social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr takes a major chunk of your time, and contributes to a lot of stress.

If you are not doing it then you have this intense fear of missing out on something important. When you are on it, you are busy comparing your life with others, venting your feelings or sharing just about everything just to get a few likes. These panic-attack inducing social media activities do nothing other than raise your stress levels.

You are Failing in Real Life

Sitting in a really boring meeting, you have this urge to grab your smartphone to check a few updates, download a new app or just play a very addictive game. Before you know it, you may have missed out on all the important information that may have been shared. Smartphone addicts have a problem in focusing on events in real life, leading to poor performance in school and work.

Fighting Smartphone Addiction Stress
So, what do you do to avoid stress? Of course, throwing your phone in the bin (sorry for the mini heart attack) may not be a really good idea, considering the price you paid for it. Instead, try these simple tips to switch off and take a break from your smartphone.

✔ Recognize the addiction (The most difficult part, since every addict underestimates the time spent on the phone)
✔ Turn off the phone for half an hour everyday.
✔ If you can’t turn it off, leave it at home for an hour or two.
✔ Talk more and text less.
✔ Challenge yourself to resist checking your phone for updates for at least an hour.
✔ Keep the phone out of the bedroom or family room.
✔ Think before you share pictures or private details on social media.
✔ On an evening out or during family time, keep your phone on silent mode, or better switch it off.
✔ If you are sitting close to a person then instead of texting, go up and talk to them face to face.
Getting over your smartphone addiction and reducing the subsequent stress is as simple as it sounds. The bright screen, the hundreds of apps and not to forget the endless stream of social media information is more addictive than you think it is. Understanding how it can adversely affect our work, our social and family life, and taking appropriate steps with necessary discipline can help in curbing the addiction.

Unmistakable Signs That Definitely Prove You’re a Technophile

Unmistakable Signs That Definitely Prove You’re a Technophile

We all know whether we’re pro technology or against it. Going further, we know whether we really love everything to do with technology or whether we take it in our stride and use it because we can and want to. Finding out whether you’re a tech bum is easy enough once you read the “symptoms”.

Latest Gadgets

You have the latest releases in every sphere of technological innovation if you can afford it… because you’ve already pre-ordered it online the day they were announced. One may find that the technophile has changed gadgets at least once every two or three months. They are seen with something new every time they meet the same person. You can even dish on the gossip and production issues of each gadget during its development stage.

Tried to Fix Something at least Once in Life

At some point in life, the technophile has tried to prise open a malfunctioning piece of machinery and mend it. What happened of the gadget decided their career there and then. A crappy “fixer-upper” became a game tester and professional reviewer. The good “fixer-upper” became the engineer. Both respected, though.

Sometimes Broke

As a result of buying so many of the latest toys to play with, the technophile sometimes goes hungry for the month. This is a compulsive habit for extreme cases, since they’re just technological shopaholics. More often, though, tech lovers simply save up every penny they possibly can in order to provide for the huge expense of regular gadgety consumption. So what’s your status?

Old Tech Subscriptions

Step into the home of any ardent devotee of technology, and one may find several old prized volumes and subscriptions littered around the house, reminiscent of the old days. This person will also be a fine connoisseur of old gadgets that are rare now, that too in perfect working condition. If one looks into their search history, one finds that (s)he has an online subscription to every online magazine related to their field. You’re probably looking at your search history now.

May Love Sci-fi

Science fiction has captured the imagination of thousands of people since the novels of H. G. Wells came around, but none more than the technophile. Even if you despise reading, you will give these novels and movies a go.

Career in Software
Rest-assured they are so passionate about these fields, that there is a 90% probability that they’re in the software field, or shooting for it. Whether a web developer, ethical hacker, product designer or a part-time game tester, the admirer of all things metallic will undoubtedly pursue a career path in software or something related. Don’t look shocked.

Life Managed by Apps

Everything, from exercise schedule, daily timetables, appointments, social media, banking, booking, shopping, and even work, is done on the internet. Even the most mundane functions of daily life, like going around the block in search of cheese, is done via navigation apps.

Accepted Authority for Friends and Family

Almost everyone associated with a tech lover goes to him or her to get the latest reviews and news on the best gadget available in the market, in case they are planning to buy something. You are counted on as the best person to guide a technologically challenged person through with buying a gadget. Your esteemed opinion is held final and incontestable.

Online Networker

Most people these days, despite being on social media, go out and have a good time with friends in the evenings or on weekends. This is rarely followed by the technologically loving section of humanity. All their human interaction (or whatever they can get out of it, when they’re not hooked to a screen) is done through the phone, not speaking for days on end if they live alone. Do be ashamed. Or not.

Withdrawal Symptoms
Separation anxiety or withdrawal symptoms from your favorite gadget include mild irritation, boredom, anxiety, and a constant attempt to regain the gadget. This includes an inability to access the internet as well. You go batcrap crazy if you realize you forgot your phone at home or are forced to actually make conversation.

All Close Buds are Techies

Except family, almost everyone the technophile knows is someone who is just as obsessed with technology as they are. Such friends almost always come over or invite the technophile for a game or product release. They will also invite other friends or acquaintances unrelated to their field, to such events. After reading this description you refused to be called a spammer.

Techie Talk all the Time
A technologically challenged person will find it very hard to communicate with someone who lives and breathes technology, like you, for instance. Especially since they’re in the same company all the time, one finds that talking about their favorite topic cheers them up like Christmas came early. There’s nothing like a hot debate about the pros and cons of the latest smartphone over an evening at a 5-star restaurant, isn’t it?

One Monitor is Never Enough

This is mostly observed with employees of MNCs and people professionally associated with heavy-duty computer work, but is a trend that is catching up with the ones merely indulgent at home. One might see them propped up in a comfortable armchair, or even in bed, surrounded by multiple monitors, with the latest version of whatever they need (read want). You can go hide in your blanket now if you wish.

Gaming Tendencies

Several people obsessed with computers and anything related to their pedigree, will know this is true: they’re unabashedly gamers. Whether on their PCs or cells, there will be a few big name games and many more lesser known ones. Of course, this caters to stereotypes, but what doesn’t these days?

Linux is Preferred
When it comes to operating systems, it is almost always agreed that Linux trumps the others by a mile. A technophile, if he knows what it is, will almost always opt for Linux. (Some technophiles do not care for operating systems, but more for design and User Interfaces).

Being a technophile is liberating. You are exactly what you want to be, and keenly follow your passions with a pride and tenacity that earns you respect as long as you do not become addicted. So enjoy the phase if you are a technophile or know someone like this!