Asteco, a leading UAE-based property management company, has launched the region’s first real estate application of Quick Response (QR) codes in its new property listings.

Highly evolved, interactive advertising technology, QR codes leverage a number of technology trends currently sweeping the globe, have arrived in the Middle East, enhancing the marketing services Asteco offers its clients.

“QR codes build significantly on traditional print- and outdoor-advertised property listings, providing a new level of fast, interactive and in-depth information on specific properties. Simply pointing a mobile phone camera at a QR smart-code icon triggers the sending of data to the device, with almost limitless possibilities in the type of information that can be provided,” said Elaine Jones, CEO, Asteco.

Asteco has already begun rolling out its QR code print advertising campaign, with its smartcode instantly directing users to its specially developed mobile website. This currently enables visitors to request callbacks from Asteco sales agents, specify their exact property requirements and list their desired property through a mobile phone. Features to follow include access quarterly market reports, view property listings and read the latest Asteco news.

According to technology research group, Gartner, mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common web access device worldwide by 2013. It predicts the total number of smart phones will outstrip PCs in the next two years, with browser-equipped mobile phones set to exceed 1.82 billion units, against 1.78 billion PC computers.

Across the entire region of Middle East and North Africa, mobile phone penetration rates are higher than the world average of 72 percent. The six countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council all have mobile phone penetration rates well in excess of 100%, with the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar nearer 200% as many users have multiple handsets, according to research from BuddeComm.

For specific properties, new QR-code embedded listings will also provide interactive displays and information on properties including walk-throughs, floor-plans, location maps and images.

“In the property sector as in all industries, today’s consumers want their information faster, and are increasingly relying on mobile technologies, especially smart phones, to bring it to them” said Jones.

“This is a cutting-edge marketing initiative we provide to our customers, particularly developers, though it will also be very popular with private individuals looking for a new, tech-savvy way to generate interest in premium properties,” Jones added.

Asteco is demonstrating the exciting new technology at the opening of its Oceana display property on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah this Saturday 19 March, 2011. Unlike traditional open house events, Asteco staff will be available to demonstrate the QR codes along with welcome drinks and giveaways, dinner for two at the famous West 14th steak house for the first three visitors to arrive and a chance to win a night’s stay at the Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel.

QR smartcode scanning is available from most modern handsets with integrated cameras and internet connection, with the required application pre-installed on the latest BlackBerry and available free with all iPhones, in addition to Nokia, Samsung and most other smartphones.

The technology permits a user to scan a smartcode from more than five meters away, depending on the resolution of the mobile phone camera and the physical size of the QR code. This increases their versatility, allowing placement not only in print publications but also on signboards, posters, billboards, lamp posts, bus panels and almost any other outdoor media – even t-shirts.

“In the near future, all Asteco property listings will incorporate the QR code technology, which, combined with our other exciting digital marketing initiatives, is taking our promotional efforts in a new direction that will enable our customers to reach anyone, anywhere at anytime,” added Jones.