Business & Technology Review

Rebirth of the QR Code

Anamika Arun
Filed on October 19, 2020

The contactless world has given a fresh lease of life to the new-age barcode.

My seven-year-old daughter scans a QR code to access her class assignment; as comfortably as I used to sharpen my pencil as a school kid. If the new normal has made all of us experts at using technology, it has also given fresh lease of life to many technologies and platforms - like Zoom or QR Code.

QR or Quick Response code is not a new discovery. You have most likely seen them many times before - the black squares filled with dots and patterns. Yet it was seen as an upgraded version of bar codes, in many countries, and not part of everyone's daily life.

QR code is a two-dimensional barcode, which was invented in 1994 by Masahiro Hara from the Japanese company Denso Wave. They have been used in various capacities and purposes globally since then. The pandemic and the new normal of contactless transaction and interaction has made it the easiest mode of encapsulating desired information, from simple to intricate, encoded into the patterns. To access the information, one needs to simply scan the QR code.

Benefits of QR Code

Encapsulates Information: QR codes hold a substantial magnitude of information, within its 4,200 alphanumeric characters of encoded data. The range of information usage can vary from inventory tracking, sales registry, supply chain management, mobile marketing, payments and logistics.

Easy to Use: With a smartphone in hand, scanning a QR code is just a matter of nanoseconds. Its ease, especially when one doesn't need to download any additional app, but simply click the camera button, makes it extremely user-friendly.

Cost-Effective: QR Code is not at all expensive. If executed effectively they are very cost-effective because they allow to save a lot of money in maintenance and increase the efficiency of machines and equipment (in case Assets, but overall too).

Trending and Popular: According to a recent survey by Statista, in the US alone, an estimated 11 million households will scan a QR Code in 2020. This is on an increase from an estimated 9.76 million scans in 2018.

Error Correction Benefit: QR codes have clear advantage over the first-generation barcode, with error correction ability of 30 per cent. Codes can be easily scanned from varied angles and even if code is dirty or damaged.

Customisable: The black and white grid has revamped to more colorful and attractive styles, making its usage more customizable to suit the marketing. Dynamic QR codes have flexible destination URLs. These URLs can be scheduled or changed in real-time according to time, device, and location.

Growth with the birth of smartphones
It won't be wrong to say that QR codes had arrived ahead of its time. Especially when smartphones were not the norm. Discerning the popularity of the QR codes, smartphones commenced to have QR Code Scanner. Apple also could not ignore the trend and integrated an inbuilt QR Code to its native camera.

But if Denso Wave had envisioned that there would be a 'touchless world' one day, he surely engendered a triumpher of a product.

Now when the world is learning to live with the coronavirus. When incorporating the hygiene and safety precautions is a norm than an exception. And when we need to gradually start stepping out from home for work, chores, social interaction or pleasure, yet minimising the physical contact-points is a bare necessity. And this is where this brilliant technology of QR code fits in like a God's gift.
Even though there is endless potential within this unpretentious square, yet it has found its loyal set of followers. Printed on posters, splashed on billboards, hidden in advertisements or exchanged through visiting cards, the QR code is back like never before.  

Digital Menus: Most of the hotels, and restaurants have moved from physical menus to virtual ones, with the avail of the QR code. With just a click on the mobile phone, the user can scan, optically discern and even place an order from their mobile phones.

Visiting Cards: Pre-Covid, QR code was being added to the visiting cards either to make an impression, or to share the link of your portfolio or website. But now post-Covid, it is more of an indispensable requirement, to be able to apportion information, in a contactless manner. I like to save my Linkedin profile QR code in my mobile, which becomes a good replacement for visiting cards, introduction of my professional profile and quick connection on Linkedin.

Novel Usage: QR codes added to certain Dubai mosques to give information on significant figures in Islam.

Advertising: While integrating QR codes to brochures and pamphlets is very mundane. But lately frequency has incremented and is being utilised by eminent brands. Noon Daily is using for its app download, on its grocery catalogue; and Britannia added QR code in their print ads for Nutri Choice to lead readers to participate in the #GoodChoiceChallenge.

Whatever be your requisite, QR code has a way to make your life easier. And certainly, Covid has given a fresh lease of life to QR code. With the rapid adoption of this technology across a wide spectrum, we can only expect it to bloom to its full glory.

For more such content and insights, don't forget to scan and explore.

Anamika Arun is a Chief Storyteller at The Brand Tribe.

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