Thursday, October 3, 2013

QR Codes in the workplace

Is there a place for QR Codes in the Workplace?

First off, what is a QR Code?  

The Wikipidia definition is:
QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for theautomotive industry in Japan. A barcode is an optically machine-readable label that is attached to an item and that records information related to that item. The information encoded by a QR code may be made up of four standardized types ("modes") of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary,Kanji) or, through supported extensions, virtually any type of data.

So what kind of data can you advertise via a QR Code?

Website URLs - YouTube Videos - Google Maps Locations - Twitter Profiles - Facebook Pages - Telephone Numbers - SMS Messages - eMail addresses - eMail messages - Contact Details - Business Cards - Events - Free Text - and so much more...

Who can read them?

Anyone with a smart phone or a PC with a bar code scanner.
For the iPhone App I would recommend the Scan - QR Code and Barcode Reader - it is simples and easy to use.  Most other smart phones already have them built in...

Where can we use them?

Now we come to the crunch...
There are so many environments we could actually use them within our business.  I do not profess to know all of them, but I can see a use in many areas within IT and customer services.
We place analysers in hospital labs, ok they already have bar codes on them, but these hold serial number information etc. - what each country does, it also put a sticker on the machine with the Support Desk phone number on it, why not also have a bar code containing that number, so the lab person doesn't have to key in the phone number but just scans the bar code and the phone automatically rings the support desks.  IT Service desks could do the same with the laptops they send out to field staff...
We have major IT projects going on all the time, I always see big posters around the campus, want to find out more, put a bar code on the poster with the link to the portal for that project.

What is the alternative?

Yes there is an alternative, it's called NFC (Near Field Communication) - this is similar to bar codes, but instead of scanning a picture, you just hold your phone near the picture and the phone will pick up the information/URL/etc. - the one downside to this brillient technology s that Apple doesn't include it in their devices - so that is about 50% of the population ruled out...

Is it easy?

It is sooo easy to create your own QR Codes, all you have to do is use a simple service on t'internet, and there are many services out there....  The best service I have come across so far is QR Stuff, it has an easy interface to generate your codes in multiple formats, and a wealth of information on marketing, software, examples etc.

What are the downsides?

Well, there is always someone who will see the malicious side to a technology and there are people out there who will try to hack you phone via a QR code - you can read more information in the Wiki.
Another downside of the QR Code, is over use... check out the video, it explains it very well.

So what next?

From  my perspective, I am not sure how to propagate them into the business, I can see a place for them but only if the take-up is good, this can also be measured (if using URL links) by using short links and monitoring their use via web analytics - but the 1st step would be the education of our users on how to use them (not only for our business) in their everyday lives...

Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Country, New Job - II

Well, it has been two weeks since I landed in Switzerland, a whole load of stuff has happened in those two weeks.

First was a trip to register my work permit at the Basel immigration office, then it was a trip to the tram office to order a tram pass, so I now have a photograph tram pass and then a trip to the bank to get my Swiss bank account.

I am really impressed with UBS, the interview was in English, the last went through what I needed from a bank account, went away for about 10 minutes, then came back with all the forms filled in, I just had to sign them. It took a couple of days for my Maestro card to turn up and half way through the 2nd week, my Visa and Mastercard turned up, with all the stuff for online banking, very efficient.

On the 3rd day (sounds like something out of the bible), I went to visit the house we will be renting and meet the owners. It was a very good meeting, we signed all the paperwork, and the owners showed me what furniture they were going to dispose of, and asked if I wanted it. So we now have a desk, a massive L shaped sofa, garden furniture, book cases and cupboards, this will make moving in very easy.

Instead of using the busses and trams to get around, I have tended to walk where I can, I feel I see much more of the city this way, and have been racking up more than 5km per day, so the old tummy is reducing too.

Last weekend I was invited to a party in Rheinfelden, the German side, so had the chance to use the train, which was great fun, then walked over the bridge from Switzerland to Germany, this is the 1st border crossing I have done on foot, but will not be the last.

This week has been a week of eating out.... Tuesday, Dave and Richard were over from the UK office, so I had dinner with them, Wednesday, I met up with an old friend and he took me to Germany for dinner and Thursday, I met up with the folks from the English Speaking Forum, so made some new friends there.

I am starting to get into the swing of things here in Basel, but can't wait to get Lynne over here with me. I am needing my partner, so that I can share the experiences with her, and we can explore together.

Today is Sunday, a day of rest and relaxation in Switzerland, so after a hearty breakfast of sausage and egg, I decided to go down to the river and find out what this Rhein Swim is all about... The basics, is you start at the East side of Basel, jump in the Rhein and float downstream, getting out before you hit the border...

It was cold at first, but I very quickly got used to the temperature (I think the wet suit shorts helped), then you just have to float, the current takes you quite quickly, you just need to keep a distance from the shore, otherwise you are grazing your shins on the rocks, but you also have to stay close enough to the shore, so that you don't cause a menace to any shipping... It was a great way to spend a morning, just watching the city go by.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

New Country, New Job

Well it has come at last, I am sitting in Heathrow Airport waiting for a plane to whisk me away to a new country and a new job.

I am on the way to Basel, Switzerland, where I will start as the Head of End User Services for Roche Diagnostics Global IT.

The last few weeks have been a roller coaster ride of emotions, from the sadness to leaving all my friends and colleagues in Roche UK, to the excitement of house hunting in Basel Land and actually getting a dream home Maisprach, about 30 minutes drive from Basel Town ( the picture is the view from the top terrasse ).

I have lost count on how many trips to the dump I have made over the last month, it is amazing what crap you collect over the years. Another sad day was getting rid of the motorbike, it was not worth the hassle of importing it to Switzerland, I suppose I will just have to buy a new one, what a chore....

So the house in the UK is rented out, the bike and car has gone, the guns have gone, the removal company is set to come in on the 9th September, I have cleared up my crap, the dog has it's passport and everything should be ready for the move.

Lynne will follow me out in September, so she is home alone for the next 3 weeks, doing the final clearing and cleaning.

So here I sit, wondering what the next weeks will bring - one thing is for sure, I want to start blogging about my experiences, so watch this space....


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Test Podcast 2

This is a test podcast holding the mp3 file in my Roche GDrive, so that only Roche employees can access the podcast for security reasons

So it was tested and didn't work, obviously because the mp3 is behind a firewall the RSS feed couldn't find it, even though the blog post was public.

Back to the drawing board...

Test Podcast

Test Podcast to see if I can play it back on iTunes

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Travels with the Google Project

Just as an exercise in Google Maps, I have had a go at creating my own map, containing my travels with my Google Project - hopefully it should update here as I add more travels to my custom map.

View Google Project in a larger map