Much ado has been made about the utility of QR codes in every day life.  Just a year ago, the phenomenon was likely foreign to the vast majority of people, but it seems that at this point, most major companies attempting to boost their mobile presence are horrified by the idea of releasing a product that doesn’t include some form of QR code on it.  Where will this mystical, magical QR code take you and your mobile device?  Nobody knows for sure, but the question must be asked – who exactly is scanning these eyesores on company products, or is anyone scanning them at all?  Furthermore, will this technology – seemingly innocuous and a great tool of convenience for marketers and consumers – burn itself out not only due to overuse, but also due to misuse?

Chantal Tode’s recent article on Mobile Marketer regarding QR code usage by corporate marketing departments highlights the trials and tribulations that mobile outreach efforts are facing with QR-laden promotions.  There are some success stories, to be sure, and some companies seem to be on the verge of concocting the secret sauce of what makes QR codes a component of a successful campaign.  However, the massive number of useless, superfluous, or even broken QR codes out there threatens the future viability of these tools for the savvy mobile marketer.

To illustrate my point, one of my colleagues relayed to me an interesting (read: hilarious) implementation of a QR code in a marketing campaign.  On a subway train, he noticed a particular print ad on the inside of the train wall for a bedbug removal service.  The best part – it had a QR code to scan in case you happened to want more information about treating your bed bug problem. On a crowded subway train, who would be crazy enough to actually pull out their phone and…

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With numerous colleges throughout the country releasing native apps for iOS, Android, and the ever-growing iPad as portals for interaction between teachers, students, alumni, and other constituents, the writing is certainly on the wall for major changes in the way schools think about digital communication with their constituents.  Mashable Tech writer Jeff Kirchick’s recent article about “5 Ways Higher Education is Leveraging Mobile Tech” will definitely jog your imagination about what mobile development might be able to accomplish for you as an innovator in your institution’s technology department.

As a fairly recent graduate, it’s very exciting to watch the proliferation of mobile development in academic institutions first-hand.  The idea of having a University of Virginia app probably would have seemed a touch ridiculous while I was still slogging through McIntire, but now that I’m on the ground floor of university app development, it’s a little hard to believe that I relied solely on e-mails and desktop-based collaboration portals for information that could have been walking with me the whole time.  But we’re not just talking about tonight’s homework assignment or the hours for the career services office – Kirchick’s article shines a light on functionality that makes a university mobile app more than just a simple tool of convenience.

Imagine grabbing your textbooks in a crowded school bookstore and checking out with a single swipe of your SmartPhone rather than painfully waiting in a long line with about 30 pounds of paper on your back.  Imagine touring a campus with the ability to point your iPhone or Android camera at a building to get its full history and purpose.  Imagine instantly polling all of your students on a classroom question with graphically-displayed outputs on the projection screen in real-time.

Guess what: there’s really no need to imagine – these things are already here.  Kirchick’s Five Ways are just a sampling of some of the marvels that our grade-school teachers probably smiled…

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