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Sensors vs. Scans -- Whose Side Are You On?

On the latest episode of my all-time favorite TV show, Shark Tank (Breaking Bad is a close second), the company Scan.me (http://www.scan.me) was featured. Some QR code scanning thing that was looking to raise at a $20 million post-money valuation. 

Investor Mark Cuban rejected the company largely on the grounds that he did not believe in QR codes or scanning technology in general, but was more bullish on sensor technology. Sensors tend to be more implicit rather than explicit, and involve a significantly different user experience. Examples of sensor apps include breathalyzer apps as well as what will emerge on the iPhone 5S, effectively a platform for sensor apps.

While I think both sensors and scans can co-exist, I agree with Cuban in that sensors are a much better opportunity in all regards: ultimately it will be a bigger market, and it strikes me as more nascent at present. 

RFID is a technology I would regard as especially interesting here, as if I am interpreting it correctly, it strikes me as having both sensor and scanning capabilities. Of course kooks have long been wary of RFID chips and the alleged conspiracy to implant every living creature with an RFID chip that will allow their lives to be controlled by a centralized institution. Dr. Katherine Albrecht’s book Spychips is a must read for those interested in RFID. 
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3 comments
 
Still have not seen that show. I hear it's good tv.
Agree that sensor technology is the bigger opportunity long term but as far as UX moving forward I'm interested to see implimentations that don't leave people confused or in the dark. Sometimes a more manual or explicit experience is more effective in engaging people. Sensors will be great at moving the internet of things forward and generating data but scanning will have it's place.  
 
explicit scanning can also better at circumventing privacy concerns, since scanning requires conscious decision and is often a public act (though not always given the advent of google glass). i think the challenging part with scanning is getting usability right; i don't think QR codes are viable in the long run, because i don't think they offer the right experience. 
 
I think of it in terms of control and how much do you want to give/require from the user/customer. Scanning requires engagement which I agree has not been done well yet, but for where we are in terms of consumer behavior might still be preferred. The Belly app does a resonably good job. https://bellycard.com/ 
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