You’ve probably seen them around town, on the sides of buses, and on the products you buy. Nowadays, QR or “Quick Response” codes can be found everywhere. Easily recognizable buy their square shape filled with random dots and three squares, QR codes allow any device equipped with scanning software to quickly read and decipher their meanings. In this short article, we’ll provide a brief overview of this technology and how it might be useful to your organization.
According to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_code, QR codes were first developed in the automotive industry in Japan to track parts, but soon gained popularity everywhere else due to their quick readability and their ability to store more information than standard bar codes.
QR codes have become particularly popular in marketing because they create a sense of mystery and lure potential buyers in, with the underlying belief that this technology increases conversion rates (i.e. converting prospects into customers). Any consumers with a smart phone equipped with QR code scanning software can quickly scan such a code and the software will reveal whatever was intended to be shown by the advertiser (e.g. a website).
The best part however, is that QR codes can be placed virtually anywhere. From wine bottles, to company vehicles, to road‑side signs, the possibilities are endless. If there is a vacant space, a QR code can be placed there.
The code itself is simply an image featuring a number of squares indicating version, format, and other information which help scanners to process the information, followed by what appears to be random dots which contain the information. The color is usually black dots on a white background, but can be any color so long as the dots stand out from the background. There are even a number websites available which can quickly generate QR codes for free, and many of today’s web API’s are also adding the capability to return images of QR codes.
One challenge is how to deal with dynamic URL’s (i.e. URL’s which change after the QR code has been created). “Dynamic” QR codes solve this by pointing users to a short “redirect” URL embedded in the code, which is then resolved to the intended destination URL. However, this is nothing revolutionary really, just good old fashioned redirection applied here.
So there’s our short primer on QR codes with the two main uses being the tracking of inventory and for marketing. So, if you have something to sell or track, be sure to check out QR code technology online.