The 2D image on the left is one of the most popular types of barcodes called QR code. Quick Response (QR) codes started off in Japan in 1994 with it making progress into other western nations since. Japan has still been the largest user of QR codes with its adoption slowly being made in other countries. QR codes in essence can contain a URL, text or any other type of data (such as business cards, phone number, E-mail address etc.). QR codes can be read by devices which have a camera and a barcode scanner/reader. Most of the devices these days come with cameras and a barcode reader/scanner can be downloaded as an application based on the device.
Applications in India
Mid Day: was one of the first publications in India to use QR codes in its print edition. They ran a QR code which provided access to its multimedia content where a video would play and an option to answer a quiz.
Ford Figo: also used QR codes in their print advertisement where the QR code scan would take the user to the first page where the application by Ford needs to be downloaded. Thereafter, this downloaded application would play an advertisement of the car by using the Internet connection on the device.
CyberMedia: A specialty media company with magazines such as PCQuest, DQIndia, Voice & Data etc., started implementing plenty of QR codes in the print editions of PCQuest. These QR codes would point to different places such as videos, web pages, data capture and response form, a test site, advertisements, reader contests, discounts for subscriptions, events and key announcements. These QR codes were put to use in the March 2011 edition.
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Used cases of QR codes
- Brands can supply different language versions of an information in the print format. This way, the information can be read by many people. Especially useful in places where a localised language has more preference and information needs to be relayed in other national languages of English and Hindi.
- Get additional information – Additional information from a hoarding or a street sign can be fetched without the need to look it up on your own. The brand in itself can provide the QR code which points to a property with necessary details.
- Save on advertising space – A marketer or an organisation can impart more information and a bigger message than what they do in a print advertisement. Additionally, this can be done with the same cost incurred in the print advertisement. Example, Ford Figo displayed their video advertisement to the user at the cost of a simple print advertisement which costs less than what a TVC would.
- Business cards – QR codes are widely used on visiting cards. These would be visible in the form of an image with information such as Name, Telephone number, website and E-mail address imbibed in them.
- Used in remote areas – If QR codes do become widely used then they can help people in remote areas. A person who is unable to read or write can point and scan a QR code with information from government authorities. This message is converted into a voice message which is also available in the local language.
How to scan QR codes?
QR codes need to be scanned through a barcode scanner which in turn requires a camera on the device.
Some of the popular QR code readers include :
i-Nigma – To download this application, open the URL from your phone itself and then follow the instructions to install. Alternatively, you can go here to download at your convenience or the way you want.
Kaywa – This application can read QR codes as well as Datamatrix (a type of 2D barcode) with support for multiple languages and operating systems. Easiest way to install would be by visiting the application page through your mobile device.
ScanLife – ScanLife supports various mobile devices and asks you at the time of download which device you’re using. Thereafter it will present downloading instructions accordingly.
Qrafter – One of the best QR code readers for Apple devices. Quickly and easily scans various 2D barcodes.
Barcode Scanner – Supports multiple 2D barcodes and also interacts with Google products after the information is scanned. Suggests books, reviews, prices etc. after scanning the code.
QR Code Scanner Pro – QR Code scanning application for BlackBerry devices. Scans basic 2D QR codes but doesn’t scan UPC product codes.
NeoReader – NeoReader supports multiple operating systems and handsets. It recently added Windows Phone 7 to the list of supported devices as well.
Generate your own QR code
Kaywa allows one to generate a QR code easily. You can create a QR code of data such as URL, text, phone number or SMS. Then you could also keep a size according to your preference. Another tool to create a QR code of just text is an independent work by Jason Delport of Paxmodept. While it supports only text but it comes with implementation of Google Chart’s API, check it out here.
What are your views on QR codes? Are there any other examples where QR codes have been used in India?