Meridian Star

January 27, 2013

Main Street to put smart phones to work

By Terri Ferguson Smith /
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Meridian Main Street is preparing to launch a new project designed to make it easier for people to get quick information about buildings in the downtown area.

    Clay Hamilton, IT and communications coordinator for Main Street, said they are placing stickers with QR (quick response) codes on doors or windows of downtown businesses.

    QR codes are used by consumers with smart phones that have a scanning app. When the consumer uses the phone to scan a QR code, it puts information on that person's phone. In the case of QR codes being developed by Meridian Main Street, information will be provided about businesses and what they offer, and their hours of operation.

    "We're going to be taking these stickers all over Meridian so that anywhere you go you can take your smart phone, you can scan that QR code and you can get information about the business or the building," Hamilton said.

    The program is called babiqrawl, which stands for Building and Business Inventory, plus the QR and the awl is added in reference to Meridian's Candy Crawl and Art Crawl events.

    One of the sponsors of the project is, which is the app Hamilton recommends for scanning the code.

    "We like it because it's really simple and they have given us access to some of their programmers to make sure this works really well for what we do," he said.

    Other sponsors include MIssissippi Power, The Phil Hardin Foundation, Lauderdale County Tourism, and Structural Steel. Hamilton said Main Street is hoping to put out approximately 2,500 QR code stickers on buildings, businesses, landmarks and historic spots throughout Meridian.

    "We want people to be able to use these codes to connect to downtown in a unique way," Hamilton said. "We will supply a page to every person who gets a sticker. This sticker is free and the page is free to everybody that's in our downtown service area."

    They will also try to link some of these together to create a walking tour of Meridian, he said. One of the other benefits of the project is the use of the stickers on unused buildings downtown.

    "There are a lot of available spaces in downtown Meridian and by us sort of inventorying and cataloguing those, we can put those on the website so the whole world can get an idea of what business opportunities there are to create a new business," Hamilton said.

    This project will allow the public to weigh in on what businesses they would like to see downtown.

    "One of the things that the Main Street page will allow you to do is you'll be able to go in and say, 'I think there needs to be a Dunkin' Donuts in this space.' Then people can go in and 'like' or up-vote those kind of ideas," Hamilton said. "So we'll also be collecting those ideas from people about what an empty space can be used for."

    If you would like your business to be included in babiqrawl, call the Meridian Main Street office at (601) 693-7480.