QR codes are recognizable by most. They consist of a square pattern with black modules on a white background. QR codes are a type of barcode but differ from traditional barcodes in that they can store hundreds of times more data. QR codes originated in Japan in 1994 and were invented by a company called Denso-Wave. Denso-Wave is a subsidiary of Toyota and created QR codes as a way to track automotive parts during the manufacturing process. QR codes have only recently begun to gain popularity within the United States.
QR codes can be used for many purposes. They can store information such as web addresses, contact information, pictures, SMS text messages, newsletters, coupons, discounts, and much more. QR codes can be read by scanning them with a QR code scanner enabled smartphone. Once scanned, the QR code is decoded and the user is directed to the intended information.
QR codes are unique because they can be customized. This means that things such as logos, brand names, and images can be added to QR codes and they can still be successfully scanned and decoded. QR codes can be customized because of their error correction feature. The higher the error correction level of a QR code, the more of it can be covered to include a custom image or logo. As a general rule, about 30% of a QR code can be erased to make room for an image or logo and it will still scan correctly.
QR codes have the capability to store a number of different character sets. Character sets refer to the type of information that the QR code is holding; QR codes are capable of storing numeric, binary, alphanumeric, and Kanji characters. The maximum amount of characters that can be included in a QR code depends on the code’s character set.
QR codes are proving to have endless uses and one of their most effective uses is in marketing. These codes have proven to be a very effective marketing tool and can connect users with information and special offers at the click of a button. QR codes are likely to continue to grow in popularity.