Archive for November, 2012

Which Is Best For Business Card QR Codes – MeCard Or VCF?

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

QR360 SmartResponse CodeWe love business cards with QR codes. One scan with a smartphone, and the contact is immediately added to the phonebook. No need to enter data manually. No fiddling around with scanners and OCR software. We found this functionality so useful that we made it a basic feature of QR360, one of our digital marketing solutions. Going beyond a basic QR code, QR360 packs in SmartResponses that help businesses to generate leads, acquire customers and boost customer satisfaction. Examples of SmartResponses enabled by QR360 include

  1. Follow us on LinkedIn
  2. Like us on Facebook
  3. Tweet this page

While developing QR360, we had to select a suitable format for encoding the contact information held in a typical business card. We evaluated MeCard and VCF, which seemed to be the two most popular options for this. With MeCard, the entire contact information is stored in the QR code itself. In the case of VCF, the QR code merely encodes the location on the cloud where the contact information is placed. At first glance, MeCard appeared to be the more appropriate choice of format compared to VCF, but we decided to examine both formats more critically. This is what we found to be key differences between them:

Attribute MeCard VCF
Appearance mecard01
Density High. Can be scanned only on
smartphones having 5MP+ camera resolution.
Low. Can be scanned from
virtually all smartphones.
Future Proof Low. QR code needs to be
regenerated and recirculated when contact information changes.
High. All changes to contact
information can be made centrally on the cloud. QR codes in circulation need no change.
Enhancements Low. Contact information
itself uses up the entire code, leaving no space for adding extra functionality.
High. All SmartResponse actions can be added on the cloud without making the code itself any larger.
Accuracy Medium. Different fields on business card (e.g. street address, city, etc.) are all incorrectly mapped to the same field on the phonebook, compelling the user to readjust them manually. High. Different fields on business card are mapped correctly to the corresponding fields on the phonebook.
Connectivity Internet connection not
required.
Internet connection required.

As you can see from the above comparison, VCF scored better than MeCard on virtually every attribute. We didn’t find the need for Internet connection to be a serious shortcoming with the VCF option since all smartphone users – at least those who use their smartphones as more than a feature phone – invariably have data plans. Even if they don’t have network coverage when they receive the business card, they can always scan it later using WiFi.

No prizes for guessing which format we eventually decided to use for QR360!

Launching GTM360 Digital Marketing Solutions

Sunday, November 25th, 2012

Diwali Greetings from GTM360 Marketing Solutions!

When we started GTM360 Marketing Solutions over three years ago, our primary focus was to provide go to market services for the IT and high-tech industry. Along the way, we started deploying modern inbound marketing solutions where applicable in our core target market. In parallel, we developed a range of software applications that complemented our service offering viz. EMAIL360 (website lead generation), QR360 (SmartResponse QR codes) and HEATMAP360 (social media sentiment analysis). We also gradually expanded our footprint to Digital Media, SaaS and other verticals.

We’re now pleased to leverage our expanded array of  capabilities and credentials to launch GTM360 Digital Marketing + solutions. This reinforces our mission to provide all-round marketing solutions.

Targeted beyond IT and high-tech companies, our digital marketing solutions are suitable for BFSI, ECOMMERCE, HIGHER EDUCATION, RETAIL, SAAS  and TRAVEL industries. Like all digital marketing agencies, we do SEO, SEM, PPC and the other usual Internet Marketing stuff to ATTRACT visitors to your website. But, in addition, we also provide a range of Frictionless Solutions to CONVERT more visitors to prospects and customers, so that you get more bang for your marketing buck.

More details of our Digital Marketing + offering can be found here.

We look forward to serving your digital marketing needs going forward.

When Mobile Apps Suddenly Stop Working On 3G

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

I’ve been using Bar Code Reader, Email, Google Maps, LinkedIn, Twitter and many other mobile apps regularly on my Android smartphone for several months, both under 3G and WiFi. A couple of weeks ago, all of them suddenly stopped working on 3G. They continued to work under the WiFi mode. At the same time, I was intrigued to note that there was no problem with mobile web on either 3G or WiFi. In other words, with 3G switched on, I could access Twitter by typing www.twitter.com in the address bar of the mobile browser but I couldn’t get the native Twitter app to work unless I activated WiFi. No amount of Google search helped solve the problem. Suspecting that it was caused by a few recently installed apps, I uninstalled them one after the other, but to no avail.

I racked my brain for the next two days and gave up when I wasn’t making much headway. Per chance, my nephew, Rajesh Balasubramanian, visited my home over the weekend. I handed him the phone and asked him to try his luck with it. He went through the wireless settings and, lo and behold, cracked the problem in a few minutes. Apparently, the network setting had changed inexplicably from “GPRS” to “Live”. My MNO offers two alternative ways of accessing Internet viz. Live, which is the unregistered option under which the subscriber is billed on actual usage, and GPRS, which is the registered option carrying a fixed monthly fee.

I later learned that virtually every other MNO offered 3G only to registered subscribers. While they had several 3G plans, they insisted upon the subscriber to register for one of them and pay the applicable fixed monthly fee in order to activate 3G. In other words, while they offered the “GPRS” equivalent, none of them had something  similar to “Live”. No two options, no chance of setting moving from the right one to the wrong one. As a result, a majority of subscribers would never face the issue that I had. This explained the lack of coverage of this problem on the web.

Confined as this problem might be to my MNO, given that it has over 100M subscribers, many more people might face it sooner or later. To save them the trouble, let me give below the steps to be followed to solve it:

Home > Application > Settings > Wireless and networks > Mobile
networks > Access Point Names > Tap to check Vodafone_gprs.