QR code: easy, fast and on the rise
Once you pay attention, you see them everywhere: QR codes. The QR code plays an increasingly important role in our lives, for both consumers and organisations. They appear in all kinds of places, such as on terraces, in online payments, on business cards or on billboards. With these codes, you can efficiently store data that is easy and quick to scan. And that is useful for use in daily life and for professional applications.
In this blog we’ll tell you all about the history, advantages and possibilities of QR codes. In addition, we provide tips on how to read these codes.
The QR code in the past and present
QR codes have been around since 1994 and were first used in the auto parts industry. For the first few years, they were actually only seen in factories and industrial environments. QR codes were lasered or printed onto parts so that employees and end users could see features, such as the quality or control, through the small code. This was much more practical than traditional barcodes, as they can contain less information and take up more space.
The application for consumers took a little longer. Special barcode scanners were needed to read QR codes. Only when consumers gained access to mobile telephones with a camera and an Internet connection, QR codes could be adopted by a wider public. Its popularity was first mainly in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. There, consumers have been able to order groceries on electronic screens while waiting for public transport for years and they pay for the groceries using a QR code payment app.
Only the last few years, the QR code has also got more attention in Europe. And now, since the introduction of the Corona Check app, almost every Dutch person knows what a QR code is. Although QR codes are not yet as widely used here as in Asia, the advantages and possibilities are enormous.
Benefits of QR Codes
QR codes have several advantages. In short:
- They only need a small area to provide a lot of information
- They are rarely unusable due to damage
- They work quickly and can be used flexibly
A lot of information, small area
Because a QR code can store two-dimensional data, you can put a lot of information in it. This makes a QR code more versatile than a barcode with one-dimensional data storage. In the industrial sector, for example, you can read out the complete information about an essential component. The more extensive the QR code, the more information it can store.
Not easily damaged
If a barcode is damaged, it often becomes unscannable. QR codes are different. Because they are provided with an error correction, you can still read them even when 40% is damaged. This also has another nice side effect: the codes can be customised. For example, you can put a brand name, logo or image in the QR code. In principle, everything is possible, as long as 60-70% of the code is still readable.
Works quickly and flexibly
QR codes are multifunctional. They are quick to scan and can hold almost any type of information, from URLs and images to an A4 of plain text. And because almost everyone has a mobile phone with a camera and internet, QR codes can be used widely.
Where to find a QR code?
The above advantages make QR codes usable almost everywhere. Let’s start with the place where it all began: the automotive industry. There you will find QR codes on all kinds of parts. Codes measuring 5×5 millimetres can be lasered into metal parts. In the code it states when the part was manufactured, where it comes from and what material it is made of. If there is a recall, you as a mechanic and sometimes even as a consumer can scan the QR code and check whether your part must be returned or not. QR codes are even used in the highest echelons of the automotive industry. For example, all the Formula 1 teams use these codes to see when they have fitted a part and when something needs to be replaced.
The QR code can also be found in other industries. The gemstone and diamond industry, for example, uses QR codes to certify these valuable stones. These QR codes are usually attached to a pendant. Sometimes QR codes are even lasered minuscule into a stone.
QR codes are useful for companies, but they also make life a lot easier for consumers. No one has to print out airline tickets anymore: when booking, travellers receive the QR code in the mail or the app. They can show this code on their mobile phone when boarding. The same goes for (international) train tickets, the Corona Check app or tickets for festivals or concerts. With a quick scan, consumers have immediate access.
In the hospitality industry, consumers can increasingly order or pay by means of QR codes on their tables. In museums, visitors can get extra information by scanning the code next to an object. And when consumers order something online, they can scan a QR code that leads them directly to their own payment app. The correct amount is already available and they only have to confirm the transfer.
Special devices to scan QR codes
For consumer use, mobile phones are perfectly capable of scanning QR codes. Also professionally, QR codes are sometimes read with smartphones. In fact, at festivals and events you even see employees scanning visitor passes with their own mobile phone.
However, for business use, it is better to choose professional equipment, such as handheld scanners. This has several advantages. The imagers of professional mobile devices can scan QR codes up to 10 times faster than a mobile phone, which saves a lot of time. How convenient if you have to scan 30,000 people inside a football stadium? And how much faster can you work when you have to sort 100,000 products in a warehouse?
In addition, these devices allow you to scan QR codes in almost any situation, making the scanning process much more efficient. They even work from a few metres away or through windows. Even rain is no problem for these devices, as they are weatherproof.
QR codes will become more and more common over the next few years. We will see this in our private lives and in business. There will only be more possibilities and applications. With special mobile devices, you can prepare your organisation for the future and respond to new applications in time.
Dalosy supplies devices and software for QR codes
Dalosy is an expert in Enterprise Mobility. We are the right address for mobile devices and digital solutions. We look at the needs of your organisation and advise you which devices are best suited to your specific situation.
Of course, you can leave the entire management of devices to us. If that sounds appealing, then choose our Enterprise Mobility Management services. With this solution, we take care of the hardware, arrange software updates and prevent incorrect settings.
Almost all modern equipment that reads barcodes is also suitable for QR codes. Does your company only need to read 1D codes, such as barcodes? Then we still advise you to choose an imager. An imager can read all types of barcodes, while a laser scanner can only read 1D codes. This prevents you from having to purchase new mobile devices when you decide to switch or upgrade.
Curious about our offer? Or would you like to discuss how you can optimally use QR codes for your organisation? We think along with you and make sure your company is ready for the future, with robust hardware and up-to-date software.