We are all familiar with barcodes that we use at the supermarket, these are sometimes referred to as 1D (one dimensional) barcodes. QR codes are 2D barcodes. In a nutshell they are simply fancy barcodes that can contain lots more information. QR codes are trending up exponentially and are an established technology in Japan, where they have been widely used over the past 8 years!
Barcodes can be scanned with a laser or camera at the supermarket, and there is nothing stopping your mobile phone scanning barcodes in the same way using its camera. Several phones come with barcode scanning software built in, other phones will need to download an app for that!
One of the best QR code scanning apps available for many phones is called Quickmark which is available in the iPhone app store, and the Android market place. It is available in a free version and an enhanced paid for version which costs 59p for many phones. Using the latest blackberry firmware, QR code scanning is built in, for information on this and more see QR Codes Are Coming to a Marketing Strategy Near You.
You’ve got a phone, you’ve got the Quickmark app, what can it do?
QR codes live up to their real name (Quick Response) by allowing a mobile phone user to very quickly get information such as a web address or even a location on a map into their phones. Imagine seeing a sign that has links to websites, instead of laboriously typing them in you simply hold up your phone to the sign and scan its QR code.
Furthurmore these codes can be created on the fly and displayed on a website, hold your phone up to a screen showing search results and take those results away with you.
Enough of the words already! show me what it looks like.
Below is a sequence of images showing the process of making use of a QR code using my iPhone.
Here is an example of a QR code link from a Google map with map overlay, click the earth button on your computer to display this map in 3D! Use the scrollwheel or double click to zoom, click the middle mouse button to change your 3D view.