The code of the future

Willem Koper

Willem Koper moved to Barcelona 34 years ago as a Dutch teacher, but it was not until 1995 that he founded the Backuplines language services company, one of his mottos is, “Time is precious”. This led him to conceive an innovative concept in English language learning, focusing on practice (not theory) with the Learning by Doing methodology.

Economising on time and resources, he chose the telephone to optimise results with personalised, bespoke teaching, reducing each class to a full and beneficial 25 minutes. Additionally, and considering that the company is located in Poble Nou in Barcelona, the technology centre of the 22@ district, Backuplines (a recent member of Associació d'Empreses i Institucions22@Barcelona,  has begun using digital codes to lower the costs of linguistic translation services and therefore be more Green. Their customers include Smart City magazine, and this collaboration has led Willem to write this article.

Throughout human evolution we have created communities in which we feel protected. From the fortified foundations to the metropolis of Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, we all tend to identify ourselves with our surroundings, and the city offers us what we need to be successful and prosper: security, togetherness, exchange, knowledge and work. A common language brings us even closer together. Barcelona, as an essential member of the Smart Cities, is a strong player in the fields of technology, tourism and innovation, but like other Spanish cities, it is still trying to establish English as the common language in all three of these sectors. So as a Smart City, Barcelona provides its citizens - Smart People - with technological resources to improve their skills in a sustainable and efficient way, without wasting any time.

As much as the QR code that you can see in this magazine under many articles has been a sign of progress in accessing virtual information, the AR code goes much further in simplifying the process and opens up a vast number of possibilities. The AR code is the last link from paper to digital. Usage going back to Gutenberg’s time, and paper has inspired text since the Biblical times; with capital letters, illustrations and fold outs, to make reading more appealing. But AR codes provide a complete revitalisation. A simple image captured on a smart phone opens up a virtually unimaginable reality which is also amazingly useful. What is captured from the paper immediately takes us to an interactive and augmented reality, a world of infinite possibilities that grows, innovates, and gives other dimensions to the text or image.

Paper comes to life and the act of linking paper with a digital file has several benefits, including ecological ones, protecting trees from indiscriminate felling. Sustainability is an added value for Smart Cities and their inhabitants. Using technology for sustainable development and minimising energy consumption to find a balance between economics, society and the environment.

Backuplines collaborates with Smart City Magazine by translating articles that can be read on the website in either English or Spanish. Now it is also introducing itself as a learning centre and consultant in the introduction and use of codes. The free mobile application from LayAr (, a Dutch firm with already more than 33,000,000 downloads, allows the use of AR codes and constitutes an interactive platform for our business and everyday lives as consumers, connecting the real world with digital content. Scanning the codes with a smartphone brings these pages to life. Check it out by scanning the images in this article!

There are an endless number of practical AR code applications. Any flat background (paper, cardboard, cloth, even glass) comes to life when scanned. One image, like the logo of the magazine you are reading, links to its website, its Facebook address and telephone contact, without you actually having to take note of anything for later. The logo has three buttons which, and when clicked, turn a potential subscriber into a direct contact, recovering 30% of people who would otherwise put off their intention to contact at a later date because of the lack of Quick Response. AR offers real time contact. And time and Smart decisions are priceless.

With continuous, instant feedback using the contact statistics provided when using AR codes, we can form tighter alliances, bring our interests together, interact and learn from our clients, optimise results, satisfy expectations and promote and transform the concept of advertising and publicity.


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