Tech News

CellC gets it all wrong with Photocode

Earlier today CellC announced that they have launched a new “innovation” called Photocode.Chris from iMod has the whole schpiel about it on his site

Photocode is a name they have used for what is essentially called BeeTaggCode. BeeTagg is a mobile application that you can download to your phone, which allows you to capture the popular 2D bar codes, including THEIR proprietary code, called BeeTaggCode.I have spoken about QR codes on my site a number of times, and while there are a number of formats you can use, QR code has by far been the most popular, around the world. The concept, has never taken off in South Africa, despite the guys from the Sunday Times trying to implement it a couple of years back.

But there is a catch, you have to download BeeTagg to capture the Photocode code. And, to download BeeTagg, you need to send an SMS which costs R1, which they will then send you a link for a free piece of software. (Thanks to Gerhard, you can go straight to, and download it from there) There are a number of other 2D bar code readers that allow you to capture a variety of codes, but only BeeTagg can capture Photocode.Not only that but brands like Nokia are now including a QR reader in their software as a standard application

Personally, I really don’t understand the CellC logic behind it, and as Rafiq commented on iMod, “This is like building another mobile IM platform that is network specific to ‘compete’ with the big hairy gorilla in the same space.” I have also, over the years, tested a number of mobile 2D bar code readers, and BeeTagg was by far the slowest of them all.

It is going to be interesting to see how CellC take this one forward. I personally can’t see it taking off, but maybe, maybe, I will be wrong :)(Ps. Be sure to scan the 2 codes here ;))

7 replies on “CellC gets it all wrong with Photocode”

Ye, I must say, I’m curious as to why they’ve reinvented the wheel here and not used the standard, which people are familiar with.

I’ll talk to my peeps and see what they say :)

I think this is just a money making scheme, because they will put these codes in magazines and readers will need to sms the code to get the reader.

So yea nothing more than a money making scheme, and the reason I think they choose BeeTagg is because its one company that has readers for almost all types of phones out there.

After doing some research and chatting to Cell C, what I can gather is that the reason why are not using the old QR Codes is from an improvement point of view. The original QR codes were good, but the Photocode has made it far easier to create codes as well as made them easier to read by devices.

The PhotoCode reader can read the old QR codes, so it’s not as though they’re trying to reinvent the wheel, they’re catering for the old ones as well.

I guess it does make sense to a point, technologies advance and the requirement to create things quicker and easier is always on the cards.

Another cool thing is obviously being able to place your logo in the middle :)

Thanks for the update Chris. :)

I still call bullshit though. QR Code technology is by no means old, hell it’s all the craze in Japan right now. That said, BeeTagg(Photocode) is a “newer” technology, but that’s only because it is a proprietary code that BeeTagg invented.

The Photocode reader CAN read QR codes, no doubting there, but other QR Code readers’ CAN’T read the BeeTagg(Photocode). This is going to make life difficult for the likes of Nokia users who have QR Code readers installed by default on the newer Nokias, but will now have to pay R1 and WAP costs to download a new application, which they now need to learn how to use.

I know I will be watching with keen keen interest to see how CellC take this forward, and if it succeeds. Mashable had an interesting article( the other day about this, how QR Codes in the US, are going mainstream, but battling.

Google launched something a while back, whereby they would send stickers to companies, with a specific QR Code on, which would then redirect to their business page listing on Google Maps. I haven’t heard too much about it since, which goes to show, that even the US aren’t ready for this technology.

I think, at the end of the day, South Africa is still very “new” to this type of technology, whether it is QR or BeeTagg.

TBH, I don’t think CellC did their homework on this one, and perhaps BeeTagg is also to blame here by selling them BeeTagg(Photocode).

Good luck to CellC, and hopefully in a couple of months time, I don’t need to eat my words ;)

Comments are closed.