The QR code, or “Quick Response” code, is a small square matrix that stores information — more information than your regular (or linear) barcode. QR codes can store contact information or serve up URLs to mobile content using free reader software, turning your cell phone into an instant bar code scanner, and they can do much more. [To understand more of the evolution of the barcode, from linear to QR and other codes, read our three part series on this blog.]
QR codes are an everyday occurrence in other parts of the world, especially Japan. You will find them on everything– magazines, business cards, id badges, magazines, flyers, posters, newspapers, stickers, food products, web sites , billboards, CDs, vending machines, coffee cups, advertisements, movie tickets, and even gravestones.
Imagine your sitting in Starbucks reading the morning paper. You notice this strange black square at the bottom of a Barnes & Noble ad promising 50% off the next James Patterson book. All that you need is your cell phone. Take a picture of the QR code and show it to the clerk on your next visit. Instant savings! Perhaps you’ve been waiting at the bus stop for awhile and want to know when the next one will arrive. You take a snapshot of the QR code on the corner of the bus stop sign and your redirected to an updated bus schedule. Or let’s say you you’re at the airport. Just simply display your QR code on your cell phone screen. No paperwork to carry!
So the question is: will there be QR codes splashed everywhere, like Japan, in the near future? It’s quite possible. Apple is already rolling out QR ready iPhones. Google already has a plan to make QR codes an advertising revenue and is also championing an open-source J2ME reader project dubbed ZXing. Mobilstance.com boldly states “the reason all of this is so interesting is because of the perfect intersection between technology and lifestyle. Start with the iPhone user base…then add what we can assume to be first Android buyers…and you’ve got the perfect launching pad for a QR movement”
If you’re curious about the different trends happening around the world with this little black mark, check out this blog that highlights different products from around the world that are displaying QR codes.