QR Q&A: A Factsheet

Posted by: Nicholas M. Roberts

Please note that this may be my last blog entry for a while. My mother is having medical troubles and much of my time will be devoted to her. Before I sign off for this indeterminate amount of time I’d like to give you a little cheat sheet for information on QR codes. For those of you who have kept up with my posts, this Q&A will be mostly review. However, it is also the go-to guide if you need to give a “quick response” to any questions.

Q: In one sentence: what is a QR code?

A: A two-dimensional barcode that can be scanned with a special reader, usually on a smartphone, and can bring you to a website, display text, etc…

Q: What does QR stand for?

A: Quick Response

Q: Where can I expect to see a QR code?

A: Billboards, brochures, building permits, business cards, circulars, fliers, in-store displays, magazines, nature trails, posters, products, restaurants, websites

Q: Who holds the patent for QR codes?

A: Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota.

Q: Where did they come from?

A: They were adapted from German Data Matrix codes (which can be found readily now too) and used for tracking inventory on automobile parts. In 2002, Japanese phone developers and service providers decided to include the ability to scan QR codes on all new phones. Companies jumped at the opportunity and Japan was plastered with the codes by the end of 2003. Now they are spreading to the West as well. [Read more about the history].

Q: How much data can a QR code hold?

A: 4296 alphanumeric characters or 7089 numeric characters

Q: Can I create my own QR code?

A: [Yes]

Q: If my QR code is damaged or otherwise obstructed is it forever useless?

A: It depends on the severity of the damage. QR code readers can have up to 30% error correction capabilities which means that up to 30% of the data on a QR code can be missing and the code will still lead to the right place.

Q: What is the main competition for QR codes?

A: [MS Tags] & [Near Field Communication]

Q: Can a QR code give my phone a virus?

A: No, but the website it brings you to can. Your reader will ask for permission before going to any website. Never accept unless you trust it and cancel any download that you did not start yourself.

Q: What are some apps I can use to scan QR codes?

A: Barcode Scanner, BeeTagg, i-nigma, Neo Reader, Red Laser, QuickMark, ShopSavvy, [others]

Q: Why should I bother scanning a QR code?

A: Many companies offer exclusive coupons via the codes or access to secret giveaways. They can also provide more information about a particular product or for the same purpose in educational settings.

Q: Who is using QR codes for marketing?

A: Alpo, Best Buy, Calvin Klein, Coca Cola, Dell, Disney, Google, Louis Vuitton, Magic Hat, McDonalds, Pepsi, Starbucks, the [U.S. Government], Verizon, oh the list goes [on] and [on] and [on] and [on]!

Q: Who are you?

A: [Nicholas M. Roberts]