These days, a new term, ‘QR Codes’ is being used a lot, both by the companies and the people. These codes are practically changing the way companies are marketing their products or services. These codes are being used in every type of organization, from Google Places to Tesco (South Korea).

So here we are, in a situation where people look and admire the technology, but very few know what exactly they are.

In a simple language, QR Codes, or Quick Response codes, are a set of 2D graphics, usually arranged in black patterns on white background. These codes contain various types of information, which can range from Contact Card details to URLs or any other data you would like to share with people.

Brought into use by Denso, a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994, these codes were primarily used for tracking and monitoring various parts of automobiles. Specific QR Code readers were used to decode and attain information regarding the automobile parts. These days, the QR Codes are being used for anything and everything possible; Let it be promoting a product or service to the masses (done by Levi’s and Tesco) to providing information (used by various corporate organizations).

In order to use these QR Codes, all need is a Smartphone with the QR Code Reader application installed in it. I use a ScanLife application in my Blackberry, which helps me decode almost any kind of QR Code, big or small. Blackberry mobile Handsets, iPhones, Android based handsets, and now, Nokia smart phones too, have applications like Scanlife, Kawya and ZXing waiting to be downloaded. All you have to do is download the application, set it as safe, and scan the code.

Scanlife, or for that, any other application, uses the camera of the phone to click a picture of the code and scan it. Once the code is thoroughly scanned, the information is shown on the phone. In case of URLs, the metadata inserted into the code is extracted, which takes the user to the specified web page.

Uses for Business:

  • Everyone likes interactive and creative business cards. Thus, go forth and make one!

  • Putting up QR Codes on websites can help send traffic to desired web pages, such as a Facebook fan page, Twitter Account, a mention in  in News, etc.

  • A lot of companies are advertising through QR Codes these days, thus, this can be the next graphic while advertising online

Uses for People:

  • Do you write? Promote your Blog!

  • Send your code to people who you want to be in touch with through Facebook, Twitter, LinkeedIn, G+, and what not.

  • Send secret messages, usernames and passwords through QR Codes (though this is not advisable)

  • The uses are endless, find one which suits you

What you need for QR Code to work (not necessarily in the following order):

  • A Camera enabled Smartphone

  • QR Code Reader application

  • A visit to any QR Code generator website

  • A knack for experimenting with new technology

Just type QR Code generator in Google and you will get a lot of websites where you can generate QR Codes, even for free. Thus, you get the best of technology, at minimum expense possible (obviously there are better ones which have a price).

The QR Code not only helps audience in visiting you page, but it also interacts through one of the most widely used communication medium, a smart phone. Thus, if you want to promote yourself, or anything else for that matter, QR Codes are the keys!

For a video case study on innovative use of QR Codes, check out the video

This is a Tesco case study to show how codes can be used in an innovative manner.

My take? Get your hands on this hot baked technology and start using it before it gets cold!