The buzz has been quickly growing about QR Codes (see wiki on it here). In a nutshell, a QR code is like your typical bar code seen on products you buy at the grocery store but instead of pulling up a price and the product’s detail, you can pull up a link, a phone number, text or an SMS. Manufacturers have been using QR codes for various development processes but the interesting part is how this can be applied to the internet.
Some creative advertisers have been putting QR codes on billboards, magazines, car bumpers and pretty much anywhere else that would allow anyone to see and scan for additional information. An example would be a billboard for a new digital camera. Since you can only put so much on a billboard, you’d put the QR code in the corner and when scanned, it would pull up a commercial for that product… like the ones you see on TV. Another interesting use would be an ad in a magazine that once scanned, takes you directly to the product’s “buy now” page online. Once on your device, the QR reader stores the information and you’re on your way! No need to stop and jot down phone numbers, URL’s or details from the ad.
Contrary to what most people might believe, reading QR codes is easier than you might think. These days most smart phones and mobile devices either have a QR reader built in or have access to an “app” to allow you to scan and read QR codes. Personally I have Red Laser installed on my iPhone as I use it for “traditional” bar code scanning. For those of you with a Blackberry, QR Scanner Pro is a pretty good application to achieve the purpose.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a year from now, that square “pixel” barcode became mainstream on everything from real estate agent’s for sale signs to newspaper flyers, TV commercials, business cards or even tattoos! It’s simply an easy way to deliver effective information and allow for maximum retention in a neatly packaged method.
One thing I like about QR Code is how easily they can be scanned. Since they are fairly simple in design, your QR reader can scan them for far away, if the image is blurred (or if you move while scanning) and a scan nearly never fails. This is quite powerful, especially if you’re on the road and see something interesting.