NSW eyes QR codes for future infringement notices

QR codes may be overlooked by some as a misunderstood technology, but one Australian state's debt recovery office is looking at including them on penalty notices.

The NSW State Debt Recovery Office (SDRO) is looking into implementing QR codes on infringement notices as it works towards providing its customers with better options for creating penalty notices.

The SDRO is currently seeking out a contractor that will be ready to assist its customers with all they need if they decide to move towards using mobile or handheld devices to issue penalty notices. These customers could include Sydney Trains, which currently still writes out its notices manually.

The SDRO's own systems are already prepared to accept digital evidence such as photographs, allowing various council rangers that have already adopted mobile products to take snapshots of offences and include these as data to support the issue of the penalty notice.

Currently, notices contain a unique barcode that allows penalties to be processed at Australia Post outlets; however, the SDRO has stated that any new system should include the ability to produce QR codes.

The specification included in the SDRO's request for tender does not go into detail on what the QR codes would be used for. Although some argue over whether they are a useful technology , they can be used for a number of business purposes, including directing users to mobile payment sites that would have otherwise long URLs, and for making/accepting Bitcoin payments.

Other customers are already thinking further ahead by using existing devices to interface with the SDRO's back-end systems. NSW Police has recently begun a trial of using iPad minis to issue penalty notices , among other functions. The system, if rolled out successfully, could save AU$1.2 million per year.

It can issue its own notices in PDF format, which are then send via a number of electronic methods, or it can leave it up to the SDRO to issue a traditional letter-in-the-mail notice.