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What are QR Codes? Why are QR Codes used? How are QR Codes used?

This article is aimed at demystifying the strange, but commonly heard “QR Codes“. After reading this article, you will be more knowledgeable than ever. Read on to find out more about QR codes and how you can use them.

What are QR Codes?

QR is an abbreviation of Quick Response.
QR is a two-dimensional bar code which presents information as a series of squares within squares and they are machine readable. They can contain alphanumeric text and are often used to identify and feature URLs that direct users to sites where they can learn about a product, a place or an object. They can be quickly read by mobile phones. This is also commonly known as “mobile tagging”.

Typically, barcodes are used to distinguish between products. Every product that you purchase has its own unique barcode. When you buy a can of coke, just turn it around and you will notice a series of vertical black and white lines. These lines are called barcodes. These barcodes can be found on any product that you buy, as they help in identifying and differentiating products. Similar to these barcodes, QR codes work in a similar fashion. Many modern cell phones can easily scan these QR codes thus enabling you to receive the info in your mobile phones.

So what makes QR Codes different from a regular barcode?

1. A barcode can encode the data horizontally. That is why you see vertical lines on the barcode of products like soft drink cans, tooth pastes, etc. as the scanners read the width and distance between these vertical lines. Unlike a regular barcode, QR code can encode the data, both horizontally and vertically in the form of a grid, built of tiny squares. This helps to add more data in a smaller region.

2. It is absolutely necessary that the barcodes to be aligned properly (mostly vertically) to be read properly by a scanner, whereas QR codes can be read and intercepted from any angle.

3. Barcodes are merely used to identify products and can be used only to provide static information about the product, prices, etc. They cannot trigger an action on their own. On the other hand, QR codes can trigger actions like downloading a file, launching a website, etc. thus adding more options and flexibility.

Why are QR Codes used?

QR Codes can be used to provide tracking information for routing data on a mailing label, contact information on a business card, products in industry, etc. They are also used to grab information from transient media (such as online ads, etc.), store and digitally present this info (can include text, URL, geo coordinates, etc.) and save/upload this information to your cell phone.

Once this information is available in your cell phone, it may provide you with more details about the product/entity that the QR code corresponds to, thus possibly allowing users to search for nearby locations, show website URL, provide contact information, etc. All of this really adds to our convenience and flexibility of providing and accessing information.

QR codes are commonly used in Websites, advertisements, magazine advertisements, on a billboard, a person’s T-shirt, etc.

How are QR Codes used?

QR codes can be scanned and intercepted by modern day mobile phones. If you have a modern day Smartphone, chances are high that it can scan and store this QR code. Contact your cell phone manufacturer or refer to your user manual to find out if this feature is available in your cell phone. If it is, then you can simply run supplied software/take a snapshot with the inbuilt camera.

The decoding software built into the mobile phones will take care of interpreting the code, once it is saved into your mobile. If you do not have a decoding software installed, then you may download one for free from Kaywa or QuickMarks. You may then share this info with others by means of Bluetooth, etc.

That’s it for now!

Do you know anything else about that you would like to share with us? Please feel free to do so by commenting below.

3 Comments on What are QR Codes? Why are QR Codes used? How are QR Codes used?

  1. 1

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