In 2008 we posted an article on the emergence of QR codes, which at the time were most popular in Japan, with North America slowly waking up to the mobile possibilities. In just three short years, we’ve seen this tool adopted across many industries, for many different purposes.
For those who didn’t catch our last article (and have somehow avoided hearing about these things elsewhere) QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can contain any alphanumeric text and often feature URLs that direct users to sites where they can learn about an object or place (a practice known as “mobile tagging”).
We are seeing more and more use of QR codes on product labels, billboards, transit shelters and on building exteriors. But the possibilities for QR codes stretch beyond just marketing. This groundbreaking mechanism for linking spaces to information is inspiring new thinking and innovation across many industries. QR Codes are now being used for things like commercial tracking, logistics and inventory control.
Right now, the largest obstacle that industries face with using QR codes is awareness. It is arguably still a new form of technology, and many people still don’t know what they are – or at least, aren’t familiar with them enough to keep an eye out. Another challenge for marketers is that the website they are directing consumers to might not display properly on every mobile device.
Prepare for this tool to have some pretty long legs. QR codes are able to store quite complex information in an impressively small matrix. Some of that innovative thinking I mentioned has already taken place, and you might just end up face to face with a QR code when you go to a concert, park your car, buy a bottle of wine, check into an airport, or even RSVP to a friend’s wedding.
Have you seen any unique uses of QR Codes in your travels?