You probably see this box everywhere – from pages with advertising for perfumes, sportswear, shoes - and you might even notice it in the guy in front of you, who has it printed in his shirt. Curious? What you are actually seeing is the newest advertising and marketing tool that has taken Japan and the UK by storm, the QR Code
In the term QR code, QR stands for – “quick response”. It is actually a 2-dimensional bar coding system created in the early 90’s by Denso, a branch of the Japanese auto company Toyota.
This code was initially intended to sort and identify auto parts much more like the bar codes at the back of your groceries. It was later on used by other industries other than the auto market because of its ability to store data. And because it can be easily and quickly read, it was then utilized for the recording of high volumes of data - from URL links, texts, pictures and many others.
Eventually, Microsoft created its own version of QR codes, which they called MS tag. However, both QR codes and MS tags have basically the same functions and pretty much have the same storage capacity and information abilities that users are looking for. The only problem with the MS tag is that you can only decode it with a specific program that was intended only for scanning MS tag. On the other hand, QR code can be scanned and decoded by any application available in the Internet.
How do you use it?
Firstly, you must have a smart phone. Currently, the most widely used smartphones are the IPhones and the Android Phones. This is quite essential because you will be using it to take a picture or to scan the 2d code.
The cell phone must also have an application that decodes QR codes or a QR code reader. You can easily search and download this application in the web for free. Once you find a QR decoder, you then install the app in your smart phone.
How is QR code generated?
There are companies right now that develop websites with QR codes. If you already have an existing website, you can have them generate a QR code for your website so that it will become mobile-ready.
How does it help small to large scale businesses?
This new technology actually helps many businesses by enabling it to reach out to more clients. It will also become easier for clients to obtain any information needed about the business - such as its products and services, availability and pricing.
Who are using QR right now?
QR codes are mostly used in Smartphone popular countries such as UK and Japan. But it is starting to become popular in the US as well - as more and more people are using Smartphones, and as more businesses are becoming aware of QR codes.
Here are some examples of businesses and establishments that are using QR code:
QR codes are commonly seen in Hospital and Clinic brochures and Hospital/Clinic advertisements in magazines. With these codes, all that the client would have to do is to scan the 2d code using his/her Smartphone, then search for the information that he/she needs, such as room rates, services offered and even the schedules of Physicians.
Schools are also attaching QR codes in their teaching materials. This is basically the first step in eliminating the idea of students bringing books to school. All that they have to do is bring their Smartphone and scan the QR code attached in every topic - and they will have an instant reference. This idea is actually like having the lessons on a website where keywords are linked to other references. So, if the student forgets some details about a topic - he can just scan the QR code and review the topic thru his phone.
Airlines, shipping lines and Trains are also generating their own QR codes. This makes booking for trips and knowledge of departures and arrivals much easier for passengers.
Real estate is one of the industries that have increasing annual sales due to the help of QR codes. Currently, real estate posters now contain QR codes – which means that people who are looking to buy or sell their house can just scan their codes and then search for potential listings on what house to buy, or to compare prices in different areas, or send details to the website for posting.
Travel agencies with airline and cruise companies are also benefiting from the QR codes in their advertisements. Potential clients can now search for the best spots for the season to go on a vacation, its prices and if there are seasonal promos available.
Movies houses are attaching QR codes in their movie posters and movie tickets as well. With this, past customers will just scan their used tickets to check for movies that are showing, the time the said movie will be start and the prices. Hence, people who are always mobile will have the convenience of knowing what movies to watch - and at what time to watch it.
Clothing lines and sports wear and other goods are the ones profiting most out of QR codes. This is because people can easily check out their goods just by scanning the QR code attached on the advertisements in the newspaper or magazine. Customers will then just check for available brands, sizes available, its prices and many other details.
These are just the industries using QR codes for now. But as time progresses and as Smartphones become more popularly used over conventional mobile phones – it will not be impossible to find almost all industries generating their own QR codes. After all, with these codes, profit will just be a click away.