What are QR Codes – and how do you use them?
You may have seen them in newspapers, magazines and on the internet – the strange blobby squares that are popping up more and more. But what are they?
A QR (quick response) Code is a barcode that links to lots of different sorts of data, such as web sites, online vouchers or text. Most smartphones like iPhones and Android phones now have apps that let you to read QR codes (some popular apps are i-nigma QR, FlipFlop or QR Code HD).
Very simply, if you want to ‘read’ a QR Code, just scan it with your smartphone camera, and the QR code will then send you off to a website or online voucher.
How are they used?
Some businesses publish QR codes in newspapers, magazines, and on posters etc, to give coupons, offer consumer advice and information, promote competitions, replace business cards or give access to company literature.
Some companies are also publishing QR Codes on the internet for advertising, directing consumers to their social media sites like Facebook or Twitter – or giving access to their company’s online shop.
What is the future for QR Codes?
With NFC (Near Field Communications – short range wireless connections) expected to become more popular this year and next, some might say the QR Code won’t stick around very long.
Much of the talk at the moment is about which new smartphones will have NFC tags embedded in them – not whether QR readers will become built into them as standard.
With big online names like Google (known for being at the forefront of technology advances) and the smartphone manufacturers like Nokia, HTC and Apple not seeming overly-concerned with supporting QR codes, you could think QR Codes are already dying a death.
A reprieve of sorts?
However, there is a second thought that they could both live in harmony together. There are many reasons why a business would want to use QR Codes instead of NFC – including cost. An NFC tag isn’t as easy to print as a QR Code, but on the flip-side with NFC, you can get more data transferred and more securely.
It’s very early days, so it’s difficult to tell what will happen. QR codes aren’t widespread, but their usage is rising. However, will this growth be curtailed in this, the year of NFC?
Have you used a QR Code? What do you think of them? Let us know below.
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