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QR Codes: The Next Big Thing in Communications?

Are you ready for the next big thing in instant communication? If you're not familiar with QR codes, they are the “tags” or square bar codes that are showing up on product shelves, print advertising, and even billboards. Smartphone users can download a simple app that will read the codes and then send you to a Website with more information on the product or service.

For example, if you are shopping at Home Depot, you can scan the display of an item and learn more about the item before you buy. If the item is a plant, it will give you much more information than you would get on the plant's original label.

The cool thing is that you can instantly get to the information you are interested in instead of trying to remember the URL of the Website. Even police departments are figuring this out by putting QR codes on their police cars.

QR codes are also turning up in magazines, events, meetings, and trade shows so consumers (or buyers) can instantly get a lot more information about the product that is being advertised. I'm not really sure how they will make our jobs easier, and, to be honest, I have yet to indulge in using the QR codes. However, I do have friends and colleagues who use them daily. If you’re interested in finding more information about QR codes, you can get your fill at The #QRChat Mobile Exchange Daily created by QR code guru Sean Bell.

I would love to hear your thoughts on how this might affect your job or industry.

25 comments on “QR Codes: The Next Big Thing in Communications?

  1. tioluwa
    October 21, 2011

    I think in a way, QR codes can be great for sending one way information from a product to a device.

    This is just a fraction of what NFC will be offering when it gains wide spread accpetance and usage, but the only hardware needed for a QR reader is a camera, which means every smart mobile device on the marke is QR reader ready.

    It can be used to get instant product information, price and anything else.

    The only limitation like i said is that the information can only go one way, but in that, it think it's got potential.

  2. mfbertozzi
    October 21, 2011

    QR maybe will be really impacted by NFC. For sure, it was a new steps forward on technology and services to provide especially within market mobile, but right now the feeling (or my personal feeling, at least), is that paradigm will be overtaken by NFC, especially for the portion limited to payment.

  3. Eldredge
    October 21, 2011

    These 2D bar codes were used at the last two trade shows I attended. Attendees had a badge with their registration / contact information, and the booth locations were provided scanners. If someone attending the show wanted more information or a follow-up contact, they could allow their badge to be scanned.

  4. tioluwa
    October 21, 2011

    mfbertozzi,

    you're right in that NFC will take over in the area of payment, but to me the draw back NFC has right now is that most smart devices don't come with NFC readers.

    although QR codes alone cannot be used for payment, but for tagging, and other quick contactly oneway information transfer, QR might just be easier.

  5. mfbertozzi
    October 21, 2011

    It is right TIOLUWA, QR could allow our day-by-day life to be easier. Click on the code and go ahead following a dynamic info, for example, could reduce a lot time spent to look for. Basically, a good example is about underground or bus timetable. It is not necessary to replace it at any stops, it is enough to leave there a QR code and then go by that code throught information needed.

  6. prabhakar_deosthali
    October 22, 2011

    Lately many shopping ads in the newspapers have started appearing alongwith QR codes . What the ad says is that just point your camera to it and capture and send it to get the related details.

    Can somebody explain what is the advantage of these codes over the Bar codes ?

     

  7. t.alex
    October 22, 2011

    I guess bar code may not be able to encode a whole url, so they invent QR code

  8. tioluwa
    October 22, 2011

    Well the major advantage is that 2D bar code can hold considerably more data than 1D bar codes.

    Blackberry messanger can use QR to pick contact details rather than using PIN, it can also encode URL, images, and extended list of characters including japanese characters and so much more. a QR code can store up to 7,000 numerical charcteres in a single image, and 2kb of binary data.

    So they obviously beat 1D bar codes.

  9. t.alex
    October 22, 2011

    THis is quite innovative to store information in just a tiny image.

  10. SunitaT
    October 22, 2011

    @Al Maag, thanks for the post. Do you think QR codes can be misused because we usually get some clue as to whether a URL looks real or spammy, whereas with a QR code, you're scanning totally blind.

  11. Houngbo_Hospice
    October 22, 2011

    @tirlapur:

    Do you think QR codes can be misused because we usually get some clue as to whether a URL looks real or spammy, whereas with a QR code,”

    QR codes can be hacked and users can be redirected to the wrong website . According to this article “QR codes have a security flaw  and  it’s not too dif­fi­cult to turn one QR code into another with just a bit of OHP film and some Tippex.” 

  12. Houngbo_Hospice
    October 22, 2011

    @TIOLUWA: 

    ” the major advantage is that 2D bar code can hold considerably more data than 1D bar codes.”

    That is the main reason QR codes are so useful than a standard barcode. Besides they don't require a bulky handheld scanner to scan them. Many modern cell phones are equipped with QR readers.

  13. tioluwa
    October 22, 2011

    Hospice_Houngbo,

    hacking QR codes is only a risk where the code is pasted in a public place where it can be physically vandalised. i don't see how a QR code in a magazine with thousands of copies in print can be hacked, or how a QR code on a website can be hacked (except of course the site is hacked itself and the actual image changed by the hacker).

    So for printed QR codes, once the code wasn't swaped before print, any hacking will be physically visible. for online QR codes, the entire website will have to be hacked first.

  14. Houngbo_Hospice
    October 22, 2011

    @TIOLUWA :

    “So for printed QR codes, once the code wasn't swaped before print, any hacking will be physically visible. for online QR codes, the entire website will have to be hacked first.”

    Thank you for your reply.  Based on your explaination, QR codes seem to be more secure and trusworthy. The risk of hacking them is indeed minimal. 

  15. elctrnx_lyf
    October 23, 2011

    magg, thank you for posting the informative article. Yeh I belive you are right, this couls be a big thing to actually know the information of any product. soon this would go into pack & move business also.

  16. DataCrunch
    October 23, 2011

    I am a technologist, so I enjoy seeing new technologies emerge that can change the way we do things in an everyday basis, but is QR one of them?  I remember several years ago how RFID was going to change the world and yet it hasn’t been adopted on a wide scale as expected, although I do believe RFID has benefits from tradition barcodes.  As for QR codes, I personally think they are cool, but I am not sure the average user or consumer will take the time to use them regularly.   First, the user has to download a QR reader app, then the user will have to take the time a launch the QR reader and take a picture of the QR code.  Then the user has to have the patience to wait for the browser to launch and view the information based on the QR code.  It may not seem like much, but for people on the go, which most people are, it may be too much to ask for.  There must be a nice incentive for scanning QR codes if it has a chance for wider adoption. 

  17. tioluwa
    October 23, 2011

    Dave Sasson

    you raised a great point about QR.

    I think one thing that can be done to make the QR app easy to use is to integrate in the the phones default camera features. It is alot faster to launch the dafault camera app of most smart phones, most have a dedicated button for it.

    So if a QR feature is integrated into the camera function, all one has to do is start the camera, and select QR from the options.

    That is alot faster than having to lunch a dedicated QR app from a long list of installed apps.

  18. JADEN
    October 24, 2011

    QR codes have security flaws, I have heard about how the hackers use image manipulation software with Clear overherad projector film to generate fake QR code image from the original one, and then redirect the information on the original QR codes to the fake.

  19. Wale Bakare
    October 24, 2011

    @Rich Krajewski, am in the same boat with you. I think, that is just exactly where quick-respond code heading to.

     

  20. Anne
    October 24, 2011

    This is a wonderful technology, a friend shared his experience with Delta airline. He couldn't found his boarding pass when he got to the airport but he had a link sent via sms to his mobile phone, the gate agent just visted the link with his phone and scanned the electronic boarding pass through QR code.  It saves the trouble of having a misplaced boarding pass.

  21. arenasolutions
    October 24, 2011

    Especially as tablet computers decrease in price and become SOP for businesses, there is a lot of opportunity to use QR codes in manufacturing. We talked about this recently on our blog – – –

    “For example, with the ability to create scannable URLs, manufacturers can implement a point-and-browse experience on the shop floor.  For example, if work orders listing collections of parts included a QR code, a technician with a tablet could scan the work order, and immediately pull up the latest approved assembly procedure.

    This could also be used in inventory management—with QR code-enhanced bins that provide a real-world bookmark for the latest specifications for each part.”

    This specifically relates to manufacturing, but I think there is similar opportunity for engineers to implement something like this for prototyping.

  22. Ms. Daisy
    October 26, 2011

    Dave, I agree with you that the cumbersome steps to get the information on a plant for example when I am in a rush at a grocery store for an inexpensive item. May be if I have to buy electronics that cost a little more.

  23. Clairvoyant
    October 26, 2011

    I agree as well, Dave. Some locations where the QR codes are showing up, really won't get much use as it takes too much time to use them.

  24. stochastic excursion
    October 26, 2011

    Certain specialized applications can benefit greatly from QR technology.  Effectively it allows hyperlinking of any text or image within camera range.  This opens up a degree of automation that is multi-dimensional in scope.

    Of course the code images are vulnerable to alteration.  A little bit of vigilance on the part of people displaying the codes should keep misdirection to a minimum.

  25. Taimoor Zubar
    October 27, 2011

    I recently went to a conference and normally people at conferences exchange contact details with other attendees via business cards. I noticed a guy who'd ask the other person to scan his QR code via a mobile app to save his contact details on the other person's phone. This seemed a pretty cool idea to me. I think this would also save a lot of time and people wouldn't have to manually save numbers on their phone.

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