Why Do You Need A QR Code

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What is a QR code? QR code or quick response code resembles a barcode similar to what is usually found on various items in your local supermarket, clothing stores and favorite retail outlets to name a few. The QR code was originally designed in Japan in 1994 by Toyota for use in the automotive industry however since its inception it has become much more mainstream and can be used to transmit various forms of data such as numeric, alphanumeric and binary to name a few. These allow information to be stored in the form of an image usually containing a website URL or some basic information.

The QR code is a 2 dimensional barcode and can be read by a digital image sensor which then gets digitally analyzed by a programmed processor. There are 3 unique squares located in the corners of the QR code. The small dots located in the image are converted in to binary numbers and then get validated by an error correcting code. The information is then returned to the user in the form of text, numbers, URL’s and more.

Due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity as opposed to the standard barcode, QR codes have become much more mainstream appearing on business cards, brochures, newspaper ads and even marketing posters. You can now redirect a potential client to your website and allow them to get more information on products, pricing, locations and much more. With smartphones becoming increasingly more common among cell phone users and the advancement of technology most people can use their smartphone camera and a pre-installed app to access the information in a QR code at any place and time.

Although QR codes were developed by Toyota they have quickly become a standard in various countries with patents being registered in France, United Kingdom, Europe, the United States and Germany. Some QR codes incorporate encryption which allows them to hold more sensitive information. Japan now incorporates encrypted QR codes in the passports and visas they issue.

QR codes can be used for more than just storing information or redirecting someone to a website. QR codes can be used to log in to websites for example. The website will show the QR code on the screen which can be scanned by a smartphone. After scanning the image the smartphone can contact a secure server in order to initiate authentication.

During a recent study performed on QR codes being used in virtual stores,14 million mobile users scanned a QR code or a barcode using their mobile phone. It found that some 58% of those users who scanned a QR or barcode did so from their homes while 39% of the users did so from retail stores. Of the people who scanned these codes 53% of them were males between the ages of 18 and 34. This method of incorporating QR codes in to virtual stores originated in places like South Korea and Argentina but is quickly expanding across the globe. Large companies such as Walmart, Procter & Gamble and Woolworths have already begun adopting the concept of using QR codes in their own onlinestores.

As time goes on QR codes continue to become increasingly more popular. Imagine the possibilities of using a QR code to store a person’s medical history and list of medication they might be allergic to on their health card. How about being able to list someone’s criminal record or past offences on their driver’s license or social security card? As people continue to find new and exciting ways to incorporate QR codes in our everyday lives, who knows what the future holds?

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