Thursday, March 21, 2013

[Throwback Thursdays 03.21.2013] Before QR codes became the rage

This week I'm veering away from old photographs and instead look back at something that was rather revolutionary back in 2007, in the Philippines at least. I suppose we're all familiar with QR codes, aren't we? It's now widely used  in advertisements, labels, signages, and whatnot. Scan the code with your cellphone camera and you're redirected to a targeted content-rich site.

While QR codes have only become this widespread in the last year or two, did you know that Smart Communications pioneered a similar technology in the Philippines several years earlier in February 2007? The company branded it as Decode by Smart.

2013 03 21_smart decode 01

The codes then looked different from the QR codes of today. And while both are primarily marketing-driven, Decode functioned more as an avenue for downloading value-added services (VAS). Remember operator logos, wallpapers, ringtones, caller ring-back tunes, and other such stuff?

2013 03 21_smart decode 02

It's just a bit sad that Smart wasn't able to fully capitalize on the technology and move it beyond the realm of VAS, which have become nothing more than a bygone trend so to speak. Maybe the fact that it was proprietary proved to be a deterrent because in today's world, open-source is the way to go. And today, anyone can generate his own QR code -- for free!

But still, it's nice to know that a Philippine company was bold enough to introduce such cutting-edge technology way before something else like it became commonplace.


  1. I really hate this app. Does not work for me.
    Best Regards
    Miss Margaret Cruzemark


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