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QR codes; been around, now catching on fast

Date Posted: 2011-10-07

They originated in Japan well over a decade ago, and now QR codes are catching on everywhere.

QR is short for Quick Response, and the technology takes a piece of information from a transitory media and put it in to your cell phone. You’ll see QR Codes in magazine advertisements, on a billboard, a web page or even on someone’s t-shirt. Once it is in your cell phone, it may offer details about that business, including the ability to search for nearby locations, or details about the person wearing the t-shirt, show you a URL which you can click to see a trailer for a movie, or it may give you a coupon which you can use in a local outlet.

QR codes, initially developed in 1994 by a Toyota subsidiary, are more useful than a standard barcode because they can store --and digitally present-- much more data, including url links, geo coordinates, and text. The other key feature of QR Codes is that instead of requiring a chunky hand-held scanner to scan them, many modern cell phones can scan them. Even Wikipedia has a full explanation. So…how does it all work?

How does the cell phone read the code?

The cell phone needs a QR code reader, like the one from Kaywa. It takes literally one minute for someone with an iPhone or Android phone to find and install the reader. The reader can also installed to older cell phones.
How do you generate a code?

You can easily generate a QR code using a site like Kaywa.com or using the Open Source code to generate codes for you if you have a smart developer on hand. Google also has a tool — Close-Up With Google’s New QR Code Generator. The industry is only now scratching the surface of how they will be used. Many businesses are now embracing QR code; for example, a business card company uses them in print to link the user straight to a web site.

Will your customers use them?

Today, the use of QR codes is wide-spread among Japanese, but although few foreigners may use them, those that do will certainly appreciate your tech knowledge, and those that don’t will certainly be inquisitive, which may open the door for conversation and a potential sale. Those that do use QR codes will definitely have a high tech know-how and may be more receptive to your presence on the web, your Twitter presence, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube etc.
How could you use a QR code?

Your business, no matter how small or large, could use QR codes in a number of ways. You might auto generate one next to every product featured on your web site containing all the product details, the number to call and the URL link to the page so they can show their friends on their cell phone. You could add one to your business card containing your contact details so its easy for someone to add you to their contacts on their cell phone.

Add them to any print advertising, flyers, posters, invites, TV ads etc containing:

Product details
Contact details
Offer details
Event details
Competition details
A coupon
Twitter, Facebook, MySpace IDs
A link to your YouTube video

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