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What are QR Codes?

  • Yamini
  • Jan 04, 2022
What are QR Codes? title banner

You must have seen QR codes everywhere, in virtually all the products you see, read or use, whether online or offline. These pixelated black-and-white squares can be seen everywhere whether you are shopping online or in retail stores. 

 

Read on to find out what these QR codes exactly are, how they work and why they are used. 

 

Quick Response (QR) Code

 

A QR code looks similar to a Bar code but carries much more information as compared to that contained in a Bar code. This is due to the fact that a Barcode contains data in only one dimension while a QR code contains data in two dimensions, both horizontally and vertically.

 

A QR code is basically a two-dimensional code that contains square black modules on a white background. The biggest advantage of a QR code lies in its ability to contain thousands of characters of data. But a Bar code can only hold a maximum of 20 alphanumeric characters. 

 

As explained by Techopedia, you can use a QR code to share multimedia content, a landing page, or a complete ebook. A QR code can also be used for directing a phone to do a number of certain actions.

 

QR codes first arrived on the scene in 1994, designed by DENSO WAVE (a Toyota subsidiary) in Japan. It was one of the most appropriate ways for encoding Japanese characters. They were initially used to track parts in vehicle manufacturing. 

 

This technology came to be widely applied for a broad spectrum of applications due to the following 3 of their key characteristics as detailed below:

 

  • Capacity to hold large amounts of data 

  • Small print-out size 

  • Resistance to dirt and damage 

 

This was not offered by bar codes, which could be read-only using a special scanner. In contrast, any smartphone is capable of reading QR codes, offering a lot of information in a very small amount of space.

 

(Must read: What is GPU?)

 

 

How Does a QR Code Work?


A QR code generator, available online for free, can translate data into a QR code. Users need to enter the data they want in the QR code to be displayed. The QR code generator turns this data into a symbol to be printed or displayed in electronic form.

 

Users can download scanning applications that are available for free so that they can simply point the phone’s camera at the code to scan it. The code is then interpreted by the application that implements the data from the QR code. This is achieved by displaying a web page, playing a video, or providing some other form of content.

 

 

Different Applications of QR Codes

 

Till now, QR codes have increasingly been used in the world of marketing and developing an online community. However, owing to the surge in smartphone usage and data availability, QR codes are being tapped more and more in other fields as well.

 

The government and academia are utilizing the technology of QR codes for building increased accessibility and security.

 

  1. Applications of QR Codes for Businesses 

 

A business can develop a QR code that can link a mobile device to a Facebook or Instagram "Like" page. 

 

This way, brick-and-mortar businesses can boost their brand presence by leveraging the technology of QR codes. Customers are able to get a contextual call to action for certain actions. 

 

QR codes are increasingly making a presence in securing online payments. In a brick-and-mortar store, utilizing QR codes can help businesses to provide an additional digital component for enhancing customer experience. 

 

  1. Applications of QR Codes In the World of Education and Learning 

 

A report by Educause Learning Initiative says that QR codes have been able to enhance “experiential learning”. 

 

Students can access referential online resources outside the usual classroom teaching. QR codes can also be widely used on campuses and in practical classes. Students can learn how to use equipment, by accessing a how-to-use user manual. 

 

QR codes are more and more seen in libraries, where QR codes are included in a book and encode a phone number or web page for renewing the book.

 

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Types of QR Codes 

 

There are broadly two categories of QR codes commonly witnessed;

 

  1. A Static QR Code 

 

Once the code has been generated, the information contained in a static QR code is fixed and uneditable. 

 

They are widely applicable for personal use as well as for QR Code API. This can create large batches of codes for employee IDs, event badges, technical product/software documentation, and much more.

 

Owing to their static nature, they are of limited or no use in businesses or marketing campaigns. Static QR codes do not track metrics. Edits once after creation are not allowed while using a static QR code.

 

  1. A Dynamic QR Code

 

While using a dynamic QR code, users can easily update, edit and change the type of QR code endlessly. It is the most ideal for business and marketing purposes.

 

A dynamic QR code has a short redirection URL assigned to it, making the code smaller and much easier to integrate into print material and packaging design. It is the go-to QR code solution for optimizing marketing campaigns.

 

Critical information related to the campaign like medium, start and end date, the print run can be added.  You can even reset scans and download results as a CSV report. (Source)

 

 

Future of QR Code Technology

 

The popularity of QR codes is ever-growing as smartphone usage is at an all-time high worldwide. Individuals and businesses are coming up with new and creative ways to make use of them. 

 

The wide range of applications offered by QR code technology also represents the drift from the use of keyboards as input devices in mobile computing. The technology, solutions, and applications of QR codes are evolving day by day, and their effects in mobile computing are here to stay. 

 

 

Ending Note 

 

This blog ends here. While reaching the end of the blog on QR codes, we can clearly see that QR codes are no longer constrained to character, numbers, and kanji. It has the ability to store a large gallery of pictures, video playlists, sound demo, PDF, information critical to a business. 

 

QR codes are redefining the print to digital marketing scenario by delivering enormous amounts of highly useful information. QR codes are being tapped in an unprecedented way to boost app downloads, redeem coupons, get a huge number of followers, receive valuable feedback from customers, and amplify events in a much efficient and effective manner. 

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