Mobile Bar Codes Explained:

We are all familiar with the rectangular bar codes that appear on virtually any and all products. They are called one-dimensional because data, in this case a series of numbers, runs from left to right. The new face of mobile bar codes, called QR (quick response) codes are two-dimensional, across and down, offering much more opportunity for data to be stored within its borders. Invented in Japan to track auto parts in the 1990’s they now connect mobile devices to content of nearly all kinds. Chances are you’ve seen them in magazines and on public transit ads, maybe a business card or realtor sign. Wherever they appear they invite you to scan them with your smartphone or tablet using one of numerous apps for the purpose. The result might be a virtual business card you can add to your contact manager with one click or a website, video, email or phone link. Some offer coupons, event bookings, anything that can be delivered digitally. QR codes come in two flavours, static and dynamic. Static codes always deliver the same content. Dynamic codes can link to new content whenever the owner chooses to alter the link, without changing the code. This is valuable in situations where the code is printed, on a counter card or T-shirt. No need to reprint to change the content the scan reveals. Here are a few of the many uses to which QR codes are being put today:
  • Sign up
  • Event information
  • Supermarket recipe and ingredient list downloads
  • Video teasers – winery tours, how to
  • Your résumé
  • A map leading to you from somewhere in the area
  • Store windows – why I should come back when you’re open
  • Car lots – on auto windshields
  • Product labels
  • Local wifi settings – guests can log on with a scan
  • Apartment and condo building availability, photo tours, pricing
  • Print ads to collect email addresses in return for a contest entry
  • To collect Facebook “likes”
  • On commercial vehicles, expanding on the limited information possible in decoration
  • Banners
  • Lawn signs
  • Manuals and other print material where specific issue updates could be addressed by new content at same URL
  • Power pole notices (like lost cat, yard sale, roofer, etc).
The uses are limited only by the imagination. Codes may also be customized at reasonable cost to offer legible brand identification without affecting functionality. Facelift is collecting them on Pinterest. Drop by to see some interesting examples of use
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