Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Smart Phones, Smart Cars ... Smart Squares?

Is this an impressionist version of a NASCAR flag or maybe what Yin Yang looks like after one too many margaritas? Not quite. It is a Quick Response (QR) Code. Wikipedia defines a QR code as " a two-dimensional bar code created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994 ." QR Codes are common in Japan. When you think of Japan what do you think of next? Manor, Texas, of course.

In addition to hospitality, QR Codes are something Japan and the City of Manor share. In a cost savings effort, Manor implemented QR Codes internally for data management. City staff saw the benefit for sharing information with the same vehicle externally to engage citizens, businesses and tourists as well. Assistant City Manger, Dustin Haisler, and City Manager, Phil Tate, gave me a tour and demonstration Tuesday January 12th. After installing i-ngma on my phone I waved the phone with the camera engaged over the square which directed me to the specific website. This simple square links the person to an organic and more robust data source than available in printed media. The virtue is limitless. A public entity can communicate bond improvement status, cultural marker background material, native vegetation data, next bus stop arrival, etc. In addition to providing information, the entity also can collect data of the visitors. This aspect has the same advantages for private enterprise, an extremely valuable tool for target marketing efforts.

Dustin Haisler has grabbed the attention of the white house and folks from Italy to Brazil. It is wonderful to have his innovative bright mind in our region. I hope to be a part of implementing the QR Codes along some of our State's trails and greenways to better disseminate the virtues of watershed protection and connectivity.

I downloaded the viewer for my Samsung Blackjack at Go to for the iphone.

- Sallie Burchett, BWM Group