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Instant Access wtih QR Codes-Smartphones

Written By: Jai Ingersoll

QR Code is an abbreviation for Quick Response Code. It is a type of two-dimensional matrix barcode that was first designed in 1994 by a Toyota Japanese subsidiary called Denso Wave, and was created for the automotive industry in order to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. QR code was also designed to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed and is one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.

This barcode system has become popular outside of the automotive industry due to its fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity. The code consists of black spaces arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded can be made up of any kind of data that includes binary, alphanumeric, or Kanji symbols. The amount of data that can be stored depends on the character set, version and error correction level. Error correction capability allows the data to be restored even if the symbol is partially dirty or damaged. A maximum of 30% of code words can be restored.

QR codes can be used for in-store product labeling, entertainment, commercial tracking, transport ticketing, or product marketing. Most of the applications target mobile-phone users via mobile tagging. Anyone can generate and print a free personal or business QR code by visiting a free QR code-generating online site like qrcode.kaywa.com. Google has a popular Chart API to generate QR codes called Create QR Code. A QR code reader application for using the QR code can be found on all smartphone devices by downloading a free QR code application. Anyone using a smartphone can scan the QR code with a QR reader and hard link directly to a URL that is encoded in the QR code. I went to the Kaywa site as well as QR Stuff.com and created a code for my band Sensuous Enemy that looks like this:


QR codes can be used for both print and online digital pieces of viral marketing and are used for many different reasons. For instance, there is a University of Wisconsin calendar hanging on my wall with QR codes listed for each month. I took my phone and scanned in the codes, which all took me to separate pages of the UW bookstore. Each code takes you directly to what is on sale at the UW bookstore for that particular month. This is great for students who use smartphones, as it takes them right to the website without having to type in the URL.

Greattv.com is an online site that shows 101 applications of how to use QR codes. A few examples QR codes can be used for are: business cards, clothing designs, product packaging, magazine/newspaper ads, billboards, in store signs, books, land/house for sale signs, theme parks, taxi stands, restaurant guides, and many more.

Another example of using QR codes, with educational and informational purposes, is described in an article put out by Educause.edu titled 7 Things you should know about QR Codes. In this article, the publisher refers to an urban planning project that used QR codes to provide education and information at public city gardens. The public gardens were set up with free Wi-Fi access and an information booth near the entrance, where guests could access instructions on how to download a QR reader if their phones didn’t have it already installed. Placard signs were posted with QR codes that would take the visitor to a specific website, and included all the information about a particular item the QR code was listed for. The guests found that immediate access to the plants was very valuable.

QR codes can be used in libraries as a resource tool for library books by placing them on placards in equipment rooms. The QR code could include a renewal phone number encoded, an online link to a how to manual, to learn what types of learning take place in each area, as well as a link to scheduling software that offers the opportunity to reserve a room.

All in all QR codes link the physical world with the virtual by providing instant access to descriptions and resources for objects and locations. The QR codes support almost every business and industry type and can be used for unlimited connections to online information. As long as there is a website with information, there can be a QR code created to connect to it.

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