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RISMEDIA, July 9, 2011—Having attended the NAR Midyear meetings in D.C. this past May and keeping my ear close to the street on the mobile buzz, it seems to me that there are still those that doubt the viability of QR codes. Are they a phase/craze? Will they be obsolete by next year? While these are all viable questions to ask when discussing new technology, the fact remains, QR codes are NOT new technology.

The awareness of QR codes has simply exploded over the past six months. In addition, I have recently seen evidence that QR codes are in fact here to stay. If you believe in the lyrics of Frank Sinatra’s classic tune, “New York, New York,” and the line, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere,” then you shall now believe that QR codes are here to stay also.

The New York City Department of Buildings (DOB) has begun using QR codes on all commercial work permits issued to businesses throughout New York City. Now, when you walk by a storefront that is being renovated or any construction site, all the permits on the premises stating that the work being done is legal have a QR code on them that can be scanned.

Not only can you scan the QR code, but NYC is directing scanners to a mobile version of the DOB website that displays all of the information for the permit issued. Why do you think New York City went to the trouble of doing this?

Well, when people see something new in their neighborhood they are often curious as to what it is. How will it change their surrounding neighborhood? Will it benefit them or not? Previously, they would have to write down the permit numbers and call 311 to find out what was going on. Those phone calls require personnel to handle and time to deal with. Now, by providing all the information neighborhood residents are looking for through the simple scan of a QR code, the city has cut those costs. In addition, city personnel who are there to check on the work being done can scan to make sure the work matches the permits that were issued.

Obviously, New York City is no small time operation. For them to take the time and energy to research and invest in this technology automatically gives it a level of credibility. The fact that they have employed this technology to become more efficient is a further testament to the viability of this technology.

Seth Kaplan is president of Mobile Real Estate ID. For more information, please visit