What Is a QR Code?

Home & Family, Technology
on November 22, 2011

A QR, or Quick Response, code is a two-dimensional matrix bar code used to identify products. The code can be scanned, typically by a cell phone camera, and is designed to give pertinent information instantly. The uses of QR codes are almost endless. Individuals and businesses are using the codes to communicate key data without the cumbersome task of searching through a website or reading through a lot of material.

What they are. The two-dimensional bar code graphic is typically quite small and may appear similar to a more complex bar code. In some cases, the QR code may be no more than 1 to 2 inches in diameter, though larger ones may be used, depending on the medium. When the QR code is scanned by a smartphone camera, the phone may go to a website, open a browser, provide information on a special deal, open an email message or activate some other function on the phone.

Where to find them. QR codes are starting to pop up everywhere. Businesses are putting the codes in the windows of their establishments. Advertisers are putting them in magazines and on the back of specific products. Eventually, the QR code may be as common as the standard bar code when it comes to commercial items.

How to use them. Businesses in a wide variety of industries are using QR codes with greater frequency to connect directly with customers and convey what they believe is the most relevant data. A variety of free online applications will allow individuals and organizations to generate their own QR codes. According to a recent study by Internet research company comScore, 14 million mobile users clicked on a QR code in one month. That means that organizations will likely increase the use of these handy graphics. In addition, QR codes are already filling practical uses, such as substituting for boarding passes on airlines. Because the code can hold so much information, the data applications are almost limitless, which is why consumers can expect to see many more QR codes in the future.