What is a QR Code?
So you may have heard that QR Codes are set to become the 'next big thing' but thinking to yourself, what is a QR Code!? QR or Quick Response Codes are a type of two-dimensional barcode that can be read using smartphones and dedicated QR reading devices, that link directly to text, emails, websites, phone numbers and more! You may have even got to this site by scanning a QR code!
QR codes are huge in Japan and across the East, and are slowly beginning to become commonplace in the West. Soon enough you will see QR codes on product packaging, shop displays, printed and billboard advertisements as well as in emails and on websites. The scope of use for QR codes really is huge, particularly for the marketing and advertising of products, brands, services and anything else you can think of.
What can be encoded into a QR Code?
In its simplest sense a QR Code is an 'image-based hypertext link' that can be used offline – any URL can be encoded into a QR Code so essentially any webpage can be opened automatically as a result of scanning the barcode. If you want to encourage someone to like your Facebook page – have your Facebook profile page as the URL. Want your video to go viral – encode the URL in your QR Code. The options are endless.
In addition to website URLs a QR Code can also contain a phone number – so when it is scanned it prompts the user to call a particular number. Similarly you can encode an SMS text message, V-card data or just plain alphanumeric text. The smartphone or 2D barcode reading device will automatically know which application to use to open the content embedded within the QR Code.
Who invented the QR Code?
Denso-Wave - a subsidiary of the Toyota Group - are attributed with the creation of the QR Code as far back as 1994. Originally it was designed to be used to track parts in the vehicle manufacturing industry, but its use has since grown tremendously.