Smart codes for your smart phones

Dear BEM readers,

Hello Business English Magazine reader

Smartphones have successfully invaded our mobile phone market. It is quite likely that you are reading this now on the screen of your mobile phone or an edgy Internet tablet. It is now almost impossible to buy a new handset with no 3G Internet access or a hi-def camera, let alone a classic keyboard.We use phones as sat-navs, MP3 players, organizers and e-mail terminals to stay connected to the ‚real world’ as well as our ‚virtual friends’.

But now a totally new breed of mobile technology is coming to Poland – QR tags (or codes) (Wikipedia) are about to revolutionise the way we travel, advertise or swap business cards. Now what looks on your screen like a splattered pixel mosquito (or a Space Invader from the classic ’80s game) is, in fact, a ready-to-snap 2D code with a specific function:

bem facebook

This is a fully functional self-contained 2D code which would take you to our Blog’s website.

Japan is already  crazy about the new trend (BBC) and it is hard to spot a tag-free surface as people use them to exchange phone numbers, socialise, or simply say ‚hello’ to their friends in a different way than usual. In Europe  though, the technology is not as widespread and people are a bit more reluctant to ‚Snap it, click it, use it’ (Economist). The main use of the QR technology on the old continent so far seems to be transportation and marketing ( If you ever travel to Berlin, keep your mobile at hand at bus stops and underground stations as every timetable has a handy QR code underneath, telling you where  you are going and when the next bus is going to arrive. And all you need is a lightweight piece of software on your mobile phone to be downloaded from here (, here (Mobiletag) or here (

But there’s much more to it than navigating. I am proud to announce that we have successfully tested a 2D mobile tagging system for our magazine and if everything goes according to plan, we’ll be rolling it out in the next issue of BEM. Now let’s have a look at what it means to you:

QR in BEM sneak preview

Here’s a spy photo of what the codes would look like in BEM (taken with a smartphone camera, of course).

First of all, we have taken the PC off the loop. From now on you will not need to download the MP3s on your computer to be able to transfer them to your mobile device. One snap of a 2D code and the file will start playing itself or will be downloaded on your mobile. We’re hoping to keep the instructions as brief and as clear as possible so that everybody could use the full potential of the technology.

Tell us what you think – you are more than welcome to leave a comment or drop me a line OR  scan this code with your QR reading app and the line will drop itself:




1. quite likely – całkiem prawdopodobne

2. handset – telefon komórkowy

3. sat-nav – nawigacja satelitarna

4. new breed (of) – nowy gatunek

5. swap – wymieniać

6. splattered – rozkwaszony, rozpaćkany :)

7. snap – zrobić zdjęcie

8. surface – powierzchnia

9. widespread – powszechny

10. reluctant – niechętny

11. at hand – pod ręką

12. lightweight – lekki, mało zajmujący

13. roll out – wprowadzać

14. take off the loop – wyprowadzić z obiegu

15. brief – krótki

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