It occurred to us as we were writing the World Changing article on Tesco's use of QR Codes, that some of our readers still need to know a little more about what QR Codes are and why they should care. Here's the TWC411 on how QR codes are Changing the World.
QR is short for Quick Response - but that doesn't matter and, to be honest, it isn't really all that helpful.
QR Codes are Links.
And QR Codes are Scanable Barcodes.
That's it. QR Codes are the lovechildren of Links and Barcodes!
More than a decade ago, one of the smartest guys we know was in charge of Emerging Technology at a Fortune 500 company. This guy - we'll call him Drew - started experimenting with some fancy new barcodes which we called 2d codes back then. The awesome thing about these codes was that they could store more than just the handful of characters stored in the 12-digit numeric UPC codes that we see on the products found in our supermarkets. Back then, we knew this could open some new possibilities. What we didn't know however, is why we needed more space than just the standard 12 numbers in our barcodes.
It's almost 15 years later, but now we can see a little more clearly. All that extra space means we can now store letters and not just numbers. And now that we finally have barcodes that can store letters, we can fit URLs in them. Yes. Internet website addresses are now hidden on the other side of [most of] those funky 2D barcodes. In a nutshell, that's what most QR Codes are these days. They're Barcode-Links. In today's world, most of us have a smart phone in our pocket. And let's face it, it's hard to go more than 30 minutes without finding a link on the Internet that we need to check out. These newly ubiqutious QR Codes are quick-access links to websites when scanned from a Mobile Phone.
Here's what this means. When you see a code like this on the shelf in front of a TV at Best Buy, you can scan the code using a QR Reader on your mobile phone. Your cell phone will automagically open a webpage uniquely designed for that particular TV and there you'll be able to read all about the TV you're considering.
Can't find the QR Reader on your mobile phone? That's because there isn't one there by default yet. There are plenty of choices though, regardless of your mobile phone flavor-preference. Try searching your App Store for QR Reader. The WorldChanging favorite is the I-nigma QR Reader which is now installed by all of Japan's mobile phone manufacturers by default. But there are lots of choices if you'd like to venture out from the pack.
Now that you know what QR Codes are and how to scan them, check out some of the latest ways in which they're Changing the World: QR Code Articles at TheWorldChg.com.