Quick Response Codes (QR codes) are a subset of barcodes. Denso Wave, a Toyota subsidiary, was the first to launch the technology in Japan. As compared to barcodes, QR codes can hold more details and advanced features, and they can be programmed to perform a variety of tasks. QR codes can be read with a camera-enabled computer such as a smartphone and contain information both vertically and horizontally.
QR codes need two basic technologies to work-
QR code generators: You can create QR codes for free on several websites. QR codes can contain any information you want, such as product specifics, special deals, coupons, and more. You can also program the QR code to perform various tasks automatically, such as dialing a phone number, going to a URL, sending SMS, and so on.
QR code scanner: To search and decode the information in a QR code, you’ll need a computer. iPhones and Android phones and tablets are great for the job. All you need is a QR code reading app, which can typically be found for free.
History – The Untold story of QR Code Development
1st Phase of the Story – The beginning
When Japan entered its era of rapid economic growth in the 1960s, supermarkets selling a wide variety of products from food to clothing started to spring up in many areas.
The price had to be manually entered into cash registers that were then used at checkout counters in these shops. As a result, many cashiers reported wrist numbness and carpal tunnel syndrome.
“Cashiers yearned desperately for a way to relieve their pressure.”
This problem was solved with the invention of barcodes. Following that, the POS system was developed, in which the price of an item of the product was automatically displayed on the cash register when the item’s barcode was scanned by an optical sensor, and the item’s information was sent to a computer at the same time.
However, as barcodes became more commonly used, their drawbacks became apparent. The fact that a barcode can only contain about 20 alphanumeric characters of information was the most influential.
Users approached DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED (then a subsidiary of DENSO CORPORATION) at the time, asking if it was possible to create barcodes that could carry more details, stating, “We’d like the capability to code Kanji and Kana characters as well as alphanumeric characters.”
Encouraged by these enthusiastic demands, a development team at DENSO WAVE set out to build a new two-dimensional code, all in the name of satisfying the needs of users.
2nd Phase of the Story – A Team of 2 Members
Looking back on those days, Masahiro Hara, who was in charge of the QR Code’s creation, recalls that people working on 2D codes at other companies were all concerned with cramming as much knowledge into their codes as possible.
Information is only coded in one direction (one dimension) with barcodes. On the other hand, information is coded in two ways with 2D codes: across and up/down. Hara set out to create a new 2D code out of a deep desire to create a code that was both easy to read and capable of carrying a large amount of data. He dared to take on this challenge with only one other person on his side.
The team’s main challenge was to make reading their code as fast as possible. He came up with the concept of incorporating positional information suggesting the presence of a code to be read to solve their problem one day.
This is how the square mark-based location detection pattern came to be. High-speed reading was made possible by integrating these marks into their code.
So far, so fine, but why were the marks all squares instead of some other shape?
This was because “it was the pattern least likely to appear on different business forms and the like,” according to Hara.
If a location detection pattern is used in a code and a similar-looking mark is nearby, the code reader can confuse the two. Their location detection patterns had to be completely special to prevent this form of erroneous reading. They agreed to perform an extensive survey of the ratio of white to black areas in pictures and symbols printed on fliers, magazines, cardboard boxes, and other materials after reducing them to trends of black and white areas after much consideration. For days on end, they continued their mission of surveying countless samples of printed matter.
They finally came up with the least-used black-to-white ratio on printed matter. This was a 1:1:3:1:1 ratio. The widths of the black and white areas in location detection patterns were calculated in this manner. In this way, a method was devised for determining the orientation of their code regardless of the scanning angle, which could be any angle out of 360°, by looking for this particular ratio.
A QR Code capable of coding about 7,000 numerals with the additional capability of coding Kanji characters was finally created a year and a half after the development project began and after countless and repeated trial and error. This code could not only store a huge amount of data, but it could also be read 10 times faster than other codes.
Useful Applications of QR Codes
As you might be aware, QR codes can be used to perform a variety of tasks. Here are a few examples of QR code applications:
- Direct Users to a URL or Landing Page
In your QR code, you can include the URLs of landing pages or sign-up forms. When a user checks the code with a QR code scanner, he is taken to the URL. Users won’t have to recall URLs or type them into the address bar this way. All is carried out by itself!
- Dial a Number
QR codes are suitable for showing contact details for your organization. Customers may scan the code to obtain your phone number, address, or any other information they want. QR codes can also be programmed to automatically dial a phone number. This is particularly useful at conferences and trade shows, where you can use QR codes to invite people to call your booth.
- Download Apps
QR codes are excellent resources for promoting your app. You can use the QR code to guide people to the app’s download page, and you can even set it up to start downloading automatically. Snapchat, Angry Birds, and Spotify are only a handful of the well-known brands that have already embraced the strategy. The QR codes, in the case of Spotify, allow users to share or suggest songs.
- Lock and Unlock Devices and Equipment
QR codes may be used to allow users to lock and unlock devices and equipment. The cycle rental service Pedl from ZoomCar, for example, uses the same technology to lock and unlock bikes. The user checks the code with their mobile, which activates the loop for use automatically.
- Send Messages and Emails
You can send emails or SMS to your customers using QR codes. This makes monitoring the conversions of your SMS or email marketing campaigns a breeze. The SMS functionality can be used for opt-in SMS registration, customer service, purchases, and other purposes.
Now that you know what a QR code is and how it can be used, let’s look at some of the industries that use it.
QR Codes Utilized in Diverse Industries
- Real Estate
Real estate has been a leader in the use of QR codes. Realtors sometimes use QR codes in “For Sale” signs posted outside of for-sale properties. Customers may use a QR code scanner to check the code and get instant information about the house. A real estate agent is not expected to be present on the scene to answer customer questions. You can use the QR code to view all important details quickly and easily.
- Food and Beverage
QR codes have been commonly used in the food and beverage industry. QR codes are used to convey important information on items. The code can be used to access nutritional information, the product’s recipe, interactive videos, and more. It’s an excellent way to engage the clients and pique their attention to get them to take the desired action.
QR codes are also used in the industry to show promotional offers and different deals.
- Entertainment and Event Management
The entertainment and event management industries will benefit from QR codes in several ways. To show the schedule of an event or party, a QR code can be printed on tickets and passes. A theme park’s rides and attractions can all be found using the same code. Visitors may simply use their smartphones to access an optimized web page with information about the park.
QR codes have also been put to imaginative use in museums. Exhibits are connected to digital presentations, images, and fascinating information using them.
- Hotel, Tourism, and Airline
QR codes are still used widely in the hotel and tourism industries. A QR code on a reservation slip can be connected to show all of a location’s tourist attractions, restaurants, and points of interest. Customers may use the same concept to learn more about sightseeing plans, transportation departure times, and accessible lodging.
Even the aviation industry profits from QR codes. QR codes on boarding passes are also used by major airlines to provide essential flight information. Product information is often displayed using QR codes in airport shops.
Healthcare can utilize QR codes to-
- Scanning patient wristbands allows for fast and accurate patient identification.
- Create electronic medical records and prescribe medication and treatment.
- Display information about drug dosage, expiration dates, and precautions.
- Enable patients to search their records to gain access to their details.
- Improve patient safety and care results.
QR codes are an excellent way to inspire students and improve classroom participation. QR codes can be written on books and instructional materials. To improve the learning experience, they can be connected to educational videos, recordings, animations, and more. QR codes can also be used by parents to view lesson plans, academic reports, and instructor reviews.
QR codes are also used by colleges and universities to provide information on courses and semesters. You should include the codes in brochures and admission forms so that students can quickly access them.
- Shopping and E-Commerce
In the e-commerce and shopping industries, QR codes are extremely common. It is used by many companies to encourage consumers to pay using online wallets and other cashless methods. Customers are also given discounts and discount coupons by them. In reality, in 2018, 3.27 million households received a coupon via QR code.
The same approach can be used to provide product statistics, size charts, answer commonly asked questions, and provide outstanding customer service.
- Shipping and Logistics
When it comes to delivering shipping information to your clients, QR codes are perfect. They will simply scan the code to be led to their delivery tracking page. QR codes may also be used on shipping labels to display information about the cargo’s origin and destination.
Advantages and disadvantages of QR code
The abbreviation QR stands for “fast answer.” Furthermore, the term QR code refers to a two-dimensional code that includes data in both dimensions. It can store numeric codes up to 7089 characters long and alphanumeric codes up to 4296 characters long. Except for the no-zone field, each black module represents 1 bit and each white module represents 0 bit in QR codes. After a QR code is scanned horizontally, the information is read, interpreted, and determined based on white modules. In this post, we’ll look at the benefits and drawbacks of the QR code.
|Advantages of QR code||Disadvantages of QR code|
|The key benefit of QR codes is their adaptability.||People’s lack of experience with QR codes.|
|QR codes can be used for anything, and they can do anything.||It necessitates the use of a phone with a camera, which is prohibitively expensive for most people.|
|It can be scanned at any time and from any location using mobile phones.||On a mobile, it signifies dependability. Users must, however, have a camera phone and the necessary reader program to scan the image of the QR codes. However, at the moment, only one smartphone is theoretically capable of doing so.|
|It decreases the amount of paper ad material used. It also scans easily from the outside.||In contrast to simpler phones, smartphones used to search QR codes are often expensive and costly.|
|The ability to support visually disabled students without having to type out a long Universal resource locator (URL) may be helpful.||Many users of cell phones, but not tablets, and cameras are unable to obtain QR reading software for their computers.|
|There’s no need to scribble down crucial details because a quick scan will suffice.||This is a technology with which the consumer is unfamiliar.|
|Almost free and low-cost. It also can embed any form of media and is quick to use.||To – cynicism, marketers must inform customers about new technology.|
|It does not necessitate knowledge of programming.||Advertisers in Aksi must find out how to better connect with their customers using this technology.|
|It saves a lot of data and allows you to use these codes several times.||People are unfamiliar with the use of this form, which is a relatively new barcode type, so it necessitates a thorough understanding of the definition.|
|Another significant benefit is the ability to react quickly through QR codes. Furthermore, there is no need to obtain a license to build or use it.||In comparison to 1-d barcodes, QR codes contain random patterns of square boxes that might not look appealing on goods.|
The Future of QR Codes
QR codes provide users with easy access to the information or action they need. As more companies embrace the technology, it will become more commonly used in the coming years. We can confidently predict that future QR codes will contain more detail, and you might not even need an internet connection! All will be encoded in the code, allowing for the creation of high-quality QR code scanner apps. QR codes can be the solution if you want to draw more customers and increase interaction. QR codes have a promising future ahead of them, and early adopters will be able to take advantage of the technology.