Sidewalk QR Codes and POS in Paris
I currently have the pleasure of spending the week in Paris, visiting a family member who is here for the year. As always, I paid attention to the technology in use, looking for things that were new, innovative, cutting edge, unique or unusual. Sad to say, I saw almost nothing of the kind as it relates to bar codes or QR codes.
What did I find? QR codes are barely in use. I saw only one store window that had a code and only two magazine or newspaper ads that had a code. I did see a QR code taped to the sidewalk several times, but it was not scannable.
The presence of point of sale systems however, was notable, with most shops having a basic POS system, and mobile credit card scanning and receipt printing was actually the norm. The most common device I saw (and perhaps this was because I spent a lot of time at outdoor bistros enjoying beverages) was a handheld card reader that accepted the smart chip/pin cards at it's base, accepted magnetic stripe cards through a slot along the side, and printed a receipt on thermal paper about the width of a traditional cash register tape. I am pleased to say that I saw a genuine economy of receipt paper - unlike the United States, where a retailer like Target might use two feet of receipt paper to print not only a receipt, but a variety of coupons, and where Panera uses six inches of three inch wide thermal paper to create a receipt for a single cup of coffee. But the Parisians are far more frugal. Interestingly enough, my American Express card was not welcome - I could have left home without it. Most merchants did not accept it. My son told me that he was essentially unable to use the American Express card I had given him when he left for college. I commiserated with those challenges and he did not appear to notice the fleeting look of delight that had crossed my face. I cannot even begin to imagine how money much I saved by this stroke of luck.
One of the unusual and interesting applications I say was a self-contained POS kiosk that rented bicycles.
All over Paris are bicycle rental and return locations - dozens of them. Control is handled by a kiosk and an electronic tracking system that knows if and when the bike you have rented has been returned. Very easy to use, by virtue of a touch screen interface and credit card reader, you can rent bikes by the day, week or prepaid membership card. The terminal charged me a few euros for the day, and I was able to rent a bike and return it to another kiosk location several miles away. There are numerous rental and return locations in common public places throughout the city.
This is a wonderfully green application that I'd like to see elsewhere.
All other things aside, QR codes or not, Paris has been a delight and I look forward to another visit.
Written by Craig Aberle
Other articles you may enjoy
Microsoft Tag: Beautiful Connections... Even in its basic form, the Microsoft Tag is a much prettier 2D bar code, but it still is something that is not very intriguing and does not tempt the average person to go out of their way to discover ...
Tag of the Week: Blue Moon... as you'd think. In honor of this occurrence, I've created the Tag of the Week and named it "Once in a Blue Moon." Use the Tag Reader app http://gettag.mobi to read 2D Logo Tags by daCosta, Microsoft
Microsoft Tag the Best Tasting Barcode ...Microsoft Tag rated the best tasting barcode While we often see bar codes on food products, we don’t generally eat them. However, this writer was a little hungry and had been stashing (I mean protecting) ..
If you liked this article, also try: