Frequently Asked Questions About QR Codes - Part I

Q.  What are QR codes?

A.  QR codes are the organized patterns of little black and white squares that are seen in many advertisements and on many products today.  They are a more advanced version of the standard scan-able barcodes that have been in use for years.  QR codes are capable of storing information in two directions, rather than just one, therefore they are capable of storing much more data than a typical barcode.  They are used to store many types of information, most commonly - a website address, phone number or other contact information, or standard text.


Q.  Who came up with QR codes?

A.  QR codes were invented by Denso Wave, a division of Toyota, in the mid 1990s as an effort to keep track of cars during the assembly line process.  Each car component would be assigned a code, then the code was scanned at certain point during the process to ensure that all parts were always accounted for.


Q.  What kind of information can a QR code hold?

A.  QR codes can hold a variety of information, including forms such as binary and alphanumeric.  Most commonly QR codes are used to hold links to websites.  QR can also carry information such as phone numbers, geographic locations, maps or directions, text, and calendar events.


Q.  Are there any other types of 2d barcodes?

A.  Yes, there are currently a variety of 2d barcodes or matrix barcodes in use.  However, the QR code has been shown to be the most popular in Japan and is growing in popularity throughout the world.  In addition, as an open code, meaning a code which has a released specification and patents which aren’t implemented, it has endless possibilities for use.  The QR code is anticipated to be the most use 2d barcode.


Q.  Why are QR codes suddenly so popular?

A.  QR codes are popular for many reasons.  They have actually seen widespread use in Japan for many years, but are just becoming popular in the United States.  This is most likely due to the rise in smartphone technology.  This has seen a surge over the past few years which gives more and more people the ability to quickly scan and read QR codes.  They have begun to catch on in advertising and the trends seem to show that this will continue in the coming years.


Q.  How do QR codes work?

A.  QR codes can be scanned by a special application on a smartphone in order to download and decode the data available in them.  These applications can be acquired through the application store associated with your phone, or by searching for them on the internet, depending on the type of phone you have.  Typically, the applications work by taking a picture of the code and then scanning them for the information.  Most smartphones will then automatically link you to whatever information was stored within the code, such as bring you to a web browser or contact card or text message, etc.  In addition, many of the reader applications available also save the scanned information so that you can review it at a later date.


Q.  Where can I find QR codes?

A.  Today, QR codes can be seen in many places.  They are used widely for advertising purposes by many companies and also for informational purposes by retail corporations.  They are found in newspaper and magazine ads, plus print ads found in public places.  In many big chain stores, they can be found on products and product displays, linking you to additional information about the item.  They can also be found in unusual places such as on clothing, food, artwork, and many more.


Q.  How do I get a QR code reader?

A.  QR code readers are available for all types of smartphones.  These can be found either by accessing the application store on your phone or by searching the internet and downloading the application to your phone.