Government, whether on the local, state or national level, has rarely been quick to respond to change.
Often mired in bureaucratic procedures and the ingrained concept that “we’ve always done it this way,” adaptation of innovation by government agencies has historically been slow.
Increasingly, however, forward-thinking agencies are beginning to respond to citizen pressure to streamline operations and realize the benefits that technology can offer for better service and faster response time to customer needs.
And with the proliferation of smartphones, savvy city clerks and state regulators are beginning to look toward barcoding technology and mobile apps to serve their constituencies.
For many government agencies, QR codes (Quick Response codes) are the wave of the future.
Here are just a few of the many ways QR codes can improve the government/constituent experience, allowing citizens to scan a code and access desired information and/or services.
Recognizing that the collection of business contact information is simultaneously imperative and time-consuming, many government offices are incorporating QR codes on business cards.
A quick and simple swipe of the code, which contains relevant contact information or a link to a company’s website, and the information is instantly stored for ready access.
Advertise a job, Find a job
A QR code placed next to employment opportunities can be linked to a unique “job fair” site that lists current employment opportunities. The beauty of this system is that the website itself can be changed as necessary, but the cost of directing people to the site remains low. A mobile-friendly webpage can help government agencies find the best and brightest candidates for open positions, particularly those in the tech fields.
Supercharge marketing efforts
Save money and time by linking QR codes printed on brochures and newsletters with “Read more…” following abbreviated articles. For further detailed explanation, a QR code can also link to a video.
For example, a city-sponsored event such as a festival or parade might use QR codes that, when scanned, direct the user to information about parking, entertainer bios, sponsors or related activities.
Streamline the process for building permits and zoning changes
Neighbors can be informed of residential and business building activities by scanning QR codes on permit placards and printed notices. Links will take them directly to a website or PDF that details the activity and provides instant information.
Open lines of communication, especially in an emergency
Parks and Rec departments are using QR codes to provide information about specific park services, sports leagues, trails, and historic markers.
For emergency email notification and emergency text messaging, QR codes are a wise choice. The link embedded in the code will send the user to a website that can be updated in real time with news and directions during an emergency.
Make your tax payment with 2D bar codes
In Bucks County Pennsylvania, QR codes will be included on 2013 tax bills. The codes, when scanned, direct the smartphone user to web pages that supply information abou the tax collector’s office and allow citizens to make tax payments.
The move is in response to the proliferation of smartphones and the mobile nature of the county’s constituency.
Noted Sherry Labs, Plumstead (PA) tax collector and president of the Bucks County Tax Collectors Association, “Mobile devices are now the primary means by which users are accessing websites. We need to leverage this information to determine how we can adapt to taxpayer needs while continuing to work within the parameters set by law. We are excited to take advantage of this cutting-edge technology.”
QR codes can store over 4,200 embedded alphanumeric characters, and even more if the data is solely numeric. They’re easy to get from one of hundreds of websites that supply them free of charge, including QRStuff. Also, the Tec-It site allows you to generate free business cards in a PDF format, including your organization’s logo.
Look for QR codes coming soon to a government agency near you.
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