Once you pay attention, you see them everywhere: QR codes. The QR code plays an increasingly important role in our lives, for both consumers and organisations. They appear in all kinds of places, such as on terraces, in online payments, on business cards or on billboards. And that is not so strange. With these codes, you can efficiently store data that is easy and quick to scan. And that is useful for use in everyday life and for professional applications.
We tell you all about the history, advantages and possibilities of QR codes. In addition, we provide tips on how to read these codes in the best possible way.
The QR code past and present
QR codes have been around since 1994 and were first used in the auto parts industry. In the first years, they were actually only seen in factories and industrial environments. QR codes were lasered or printed onto parts so that employees and end users could read quality or control features via the small code. This was much more practical than the traditional barcodes, because they can contain much less information and take up more space.
The application for consumers took a little longer. Special barcode scanners were needed to read QR codes. Only when consumers gained access to mobile phones with a camera and an internet connection, could QR codes be adopted by a wider public. Its popularity first grew mainly in Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea. Here, consumers have been able to order groceries on electronic screens while waiting for public transport for years. They can then pay for the shopping using a payment app with a QR code.
Only in recent years has the QR code become more widely known in Europe. Since the introduction of the Corona Check app, almost every Dutch person knows what a QR code is. Although QR codes are not yet as widely used here as in Asia, the advantages and possibilities are enormous.
Advantages of QR codes
QR codes have several advantages. In short:
They provide a lot of information in a small area
They are not quickly unusable
They work fast and are flexible in use
A lot of information, small area
Because a QR code can store two-dimensional data, you can put a lot of information in it. This makes a QR code more versatile than a barcode with one-dimensional data storage. In the industrial sector, for example, you can read out the complete information about an essential component. The more extensive the QR code, the more information it can store.
Not easily damaged
If a barcode is damaged, it soon becomes unscannable. QR codes are different. Because they are provided with an error correction, you can still read them even when they are 40% damaged. The fact that they remain readable has another nice side effect: the codes can be customised. For example, you can put a brand name, logo or image in the QR code. In principle, everything is possible, as long as 60-70% of the code is still readable.
Works fast and flexibly
QR codes are multifunctional. They are quick to scan and can hold almost any type of information, from URLs and images to an A4 of plain text. And because almost everyone has a mobile phone with a camera and internet, QR codes can be used widely.
Where do you find the QR code?
The above advantages make QR codes usable almost everywhere. Let’s start with the place where it all began: the automotive industry. There you will find QR codes on all kinds of parts. Codes measuring 5×5 millimetres can be lasered into metal parts. The code states when the part was manufactured, where it comes from and what material it is made of. If there is a recall, you as a mechanic and sometimes even as a consumer can scan the QR code and check whether your part must be returned or not. QR codes are even used in the highest echelons of the automotive industry. For example, all the Formula 1 teams use these codes to see when they have fitted a part and when something needs to be replaced.
The QR code can also be found in other industries. For example, the gem and diamond industry uses QR codes to certify these valuable stones. These QR codes are usually attached to a pendant. Sometimes QR codes are even lasered minuscule into a stone.
QR codes are useful for companies, but they also make life a lot easier for consumers. No one has to print out airline tickets anymore: when booking, travellers receive the QR code in the mail or the app. They can show this code on their mobile during boarding. The same goes for (international) train tickets, the Corona Check app or tickets for festivals or concerts. With a quick scan, consumers have immediate access.
In the hospitality industry, consumers can increasingly order or pay by means of QR codes on their table. In museums, visitors can get extra information by scanning the code next to an object. And if consumers order something online, they can scan a QR code that leads them directly to their own payment app. The correct amount is already available and they only have to confirm the transfer.
Special devices for scanning QR codes
For consumer use, mobile phones are perfectly capable of scanning QR codes. Also professionally, QR codes are sometimes read with smartphones. In fact, at festivals and events you even see employees scanning visitor passes with their own mobile phone.
Yet for business use, it is better to choose professional equipment, such as mobile computers. This has several advantages. The imagers of professional mobile devices can scan QR codes up to 10 times faster than a mobile phone. That saves a lot of time. How convenient is that, if you have to scan 30,000 people inside a football stadium? And how much faster can you work when you have to sort 100,000 products in a warehouse?
Finally, these devices allow you to scan QR codes in almost any situation, making the scanning process much more efficient. They even work from a few metres away or through windows. Even rain is no problem for these devices, because they are weatherproof.
In the coming years, QR codes will become more and more common. We will see this in our private lives and in business. There will only be more possibilities and applications. With special mobile devices, you can prepare your organisation for the future and respond to new applications in time.
Dalosy supplies devices and software for QR codes
Dalosy is an expert in Enterprise Mobility. We are the right address for mobile devices and digital solutions. We look at your organisation’s needs and advise you on which devices are best suited to your specific situation.
You can contact us for all kinds of mobile devices. We supply devices that can read shipping labels, but also barcode printers, with which you can print QR codes and other barcodes yourself. You can rent or buy printers and mobile devices from us – whatever suits your business best.
Of course, you can also outsource the entire management of devices to us. Then choose our Enterprise Mobility Management. With this solution, we take care of the hardware, arrange software updates and prevent incorrect settings.
Almost all modern devices that read barcodes are also suitable for QR codes. Does your company only need to read 1D codes, such as barcodes? Then we still advise you to choose an imager. An imager can read all types of barcodes, while a laser scanner can only read 1D codes. This prevents you from having to buy new mobile devices when you make the switch.
Curious about our offer? Or would you like to discuss how you can optimally use QR codes for your organisation? We think along with you and make sure your company is ready for the future, with robust hardware and up-to-date software.
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