My tryst with QR-Codes or “Quick-Response Codes” actually began quite coincidentally. Someone I know, on his business card had a bunch of black and white dots/squares in a rectangle. On questioning, I was told it is a QR code and it contained contact information. Curious as I was, I started exploring more on QR codes. Through this article, we at Vertical Horizons seek to provide an insight into QR codes to our readers as well.
What is a QR Code then?
A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode.
Okay, so how does a QR Code differ from Regular Barcode?
Unlike a regular barcode, it stores information on the vertical as well as the horizontal axis. This allows more information to be stored, it can be numeric, alphanumeric, or binary data.
How can QR Code be used
When the QR code was first created by the Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994, it was used to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. Today, however, it has made its way out into the technology industry.
The QR code has several use in the technology, I have seen it being used by companies in their job advertisements. In such a scenario, the QR code stores a link to the career opportunities page. This is a typical usage of a QR code.
Apart from that a QR code can –
- Like, I mentioned above on a business card, store electronic version of the contact information. I had created a QR code to contain my contact information as part of my outgoing email signature.
- Contain an SMS with phone number and text.
- Contain event information, e-mails, geographical location.
- Contain WIFI configuration data, to connect to the Wireless network at an airport or a hotel.
In addition, QR codes have been put to creative use as well in advertising campaigns, etc. Check out this page for more on that.
How to create a QR Code
It is quite simple to create your own QR Code. Choose any of the QR-code generators available online and put in the information that you would like to see on your QR code. Here is an example of a QR code that has information about this article.
I used the Kaywa website to create this QR Code and as you can see, it allows you several options to create a QR code. You can either provide information about a URL (as I’ve done below), or a text (as the QR Code above), a phone number or even an SMS, which, incidentally when scanned by a QR reader on a smartphone will compose an SMS to the recipient’s number.
You can use any of the other several sites such as Qurify, or Google Chart API to create your own QR code. Additionally, as QR code has no license associated with it, anyone can implement it into their platforms.
How to scan a QR Code
To decipher a QR code, you do need a smartphone. I have the QR scanner installed on mine, but there is QR Droid on the Android Market and QR Reader available on Apple iTunes. Windows Phone 7.5 can scan QR codes through the Bing search app and the Blackberry as well through its App World application.
There seems to be a couple of Online QR Code Readers too. We haven’t tried any of them but you may give them a try and let us know if they worked for you.
There are risks associated with QR codes as well. Unless the data is scanned, it is impossible to validate the authenticity of the content. With an infected or malicious QR code, a cyber criminal can easily gain access to a user’s smartphone or computer content. There are alternatives to QR codes such as Microsoft Tag, SpyderLynk SnapTag and JagTag. We have not explored the viability of those.
In conclusion, QR codes are probably here to stay, however, there are safer options such as the mobile visual search (MVS), but that is a topic for another day.
We hope to have succeeded in demystifying the QR-code a little. Do share your feedback or suggestions in the comments section below.