Traditionally thought of as simply a matrix barcode for tagging products, QR codes are now being added to business cards and flyers by web-savvy individuals and companies as they look to increase their digital footprints.
QR codes first appeared in Japan in 1994 and are designed for quick response (hence the name QR), allowing their contents to decoded rapidly by scanning devices. With the increasing prevalence of camera phones, smartphones and tablet devices QR codes are becoming increasingly popular as they are highly compatible with those products and can be used to represent a wealth of information.
Indeed, their versatility is being pushed to new boundaries and now individuals are increasingly starting to create their own QR codes and add them to business cards, giving the recipients a handy piece of digital DNA to access.
As this clever Audi video shows, big brands are now embracing the power of QR codes to provide interactive experiences for consumers.
Meanwhile, via companies such as Jumpscan now individuals can create their own custom QR codes, which contain their various details including contact info, phone number, email address, social media feeds and more.
As recipients of the codes scan them with their smartphones they can instantly connect with their new friends or professional contacts via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Flickr and other social networks.
Not all smartphones can automatically read the QR codes, but standard reading capacity is becoming more commonplace.
Google’s Android OS supports the use of QR codes natively on some models via the ZXing barcode scanner, whilst Nokia’s Symbian operating system also carries a barcode scanner. On iPhones a QR code scanner is not included on the Apple iOS as standard but a number of free apps available on the iTunes store, such as Red Laser, quickly add the scanning capacity to the devices.