If you are familiar with QR codes, you may have already flipped out your smartphone and discovered the information hidden in this code. If you are not familiar with QR codes (part of a larger category of "2D codes"), then you are probably getting a little nervous that something new and techy is coming your way before you've even had a chance to understand Twitter.
Not to worry! QR codes are as easy to understand as a box of Cracker Jacks. Let me explain...
QR codes are alike those hidden messages with an efficient, real-world purpose. They easily take your smartphone where it needs to go (a URL, a photo, contact information, anything!) based on the information in the code...and then allow you to SAVE that information to your smartphone.
As an article by Fast Company put it, "Imagine a QR code that instantly makes the person scanning it a fan of a brand, company, or personality on Facebook without ever typing a URL."
iPhone apps with the purpose of scanning business cards (which you then need to go in and clean up) are pointless when you have a QR code on a business card. With the addition of the code, you can scan the code and immediately add that person's information to your phone. Awesome!
Best Buy is investing heavily in QR code stickers before this Christmas season. Customers will be able to look up reviews and sales by scanning the code with their smartphones.
Real estate agents are starting to use them on their real estate signs. People don't want to get out of their cars or take a flyer...they scan the codes with their phones and get the details from the website on their smartphones.
Delta airlines has even started using QR codes at the gates so people can check in with their codes rather than a boarding pass.
At meetings, exhibitors are starting to use QR codes on their signage, shirts, and promo items to give out more information with the least amount of waste.
What do you need to get started? Not a lot. But you must have a smartphone with a camera built-in. With a smartphone you can download the free scanner apps that allow you to both read and create your own QR codes.
Different smartphones use different apps, but the iPhone (my smartphone) has apps like 2D Sense, i-nigma, and the two apps I use: Optiscan and Optishare. You can search the Web for "QR Reader" and the model of your phone to find other scanner apps.
Here are some more fun articles about QR codes and their uses:
- What Business Card? Just Scan My QR Code
- Overlooked Uses for QR Codes
- QR Codes Meet Social Media - Introducing JumpScan™
Have you noticed QR codes being used creatively? What are your thoughts?