QR Codes have advanced design with focus, alignment and quiet zones, and offer two dimensional data encoding in the form of text, phone number, address, SMS, PDF, image, etc. and can be scanned 360 degree using a smartphone.
QR codes are the new barcodes. Post 2019 when covid19 pandemic hit billions of people all over the world, something changed. The pandemic changed how we interact with people and businesses. Customer behavior has changed significantly. People want more automation in grocery shopping and less interaction in grocery stores, asking staff members when a particular item is going to expire or what is the price of the item after discounts. QR Code-based smart shelving, QR Code on products, unlike barcodes, QR Codes are actually helpful to consumers.
The same goes for shopping in retail stores for apparel. People don’t want to ask staff if a particular article is available with them, in a certain size color, and fabric. Even payment, they want to make digital, contactless payments and be on their way home.
QR code has done wonders to help people with this situation. It can be used on food items, clothing, and other articles where the entire necessary information is encoded into the QR code that people can scan with their smartphone and not bother with calling staff members for help. QR codes can even be used at POS (Point of Sale), where you can just scan a QR code to make payment after your items are billed.
So, What is a QR Code and QR Code Structure?
A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode image that can be encoded with data vertically and horizontally, allowing more than 200 words, alphanumeric, URL, image, and PDF to be used for various needs. QR Code technology was invented by a Japanese engineer Masahiro Hara in 1994 while Mr. Hara was working with Denso Wave and was tasked with finding a way to enhance the assembly line and identification of auto parts moving through the assembly line in the factory.
QR code, short for Quick Response code, offers high readability, less error, precision, and quick response, making it way better than barcodes. But how come QR Codes offer better readability than a traditional barcode? It has to do with QR Code Structure.
QR Code Structure
QR code structure in the form of a matrix has many attributes that allow the QR code to perform better than traditional barcodes. An optical sensor QR code/barcode scanner was earlier used to perform this task. Many 3rd party applications on smartphones also offered this service but post-2017, many smartphones come with integrated QR code scanning features.
QR Code structure refers to design attributes in a QR code including data area, focus area, alignment design, quiet zone, etc. that facilitate quick QR Code scanning, even when a QR Code is slightly disfigured.
Here are some of the attributes of a QR code structure as follows:
1. A typical QR code is designed in such a way that it is read quickly, without error even if it is slightly tempered.
2. It is in the form of a matrix symbol with a cell structure. It has a finder pattern, alignment design, timing design, discover design, data area, and quiet zone as well.
3. Data is stored in the grey information area in the form of 0 and 1 (binary digits).
4. The alignment design allows users to scan the QR code quickly with a 3600 scanning option.
5. Four or more cells are used to create a quiet zone which helps the reader identify and isolate the QR code from another image in the vicinity.
6. An isolated black cell is there in the QR Code to felicitate easy detection of central coordination of alignment pattern.
Apart from that, QR Codes have black and white (blank) dots which represent binary 1, and 0. The emerging pattern can encode a total of 7089 characters, horizontally and vertically. The QR size depends upon the grid size which at the smallest could be 21 rows x 21 columns and at the largest 177 rows x 177 columns.
How does a QR code work?
The working of QR code is quite easy due to its peculiar design. QR Code structure is quite advanced than traditional barcode structure and facilitates quick focus and scanning. With a focus zone, it hardly takes 1-2 seconds to scan a QR Code with the help of a smartphone.
Users can scan the QR code on the tagged item using a smartphone camera which reveals the encoded data on the screen of the smartphone itself. It can be scanned, without aligning the smartphone in a specific direction.
QR Code Applications in Various Businesses
QR code as an AIDC technology is used by various businesses to perform various identification and tracking tasks. It is used in retail, warehouses, schools and libraries, postal services, asset management, visitor and attendance management, etc. QR code identity cards are also created for students and employees as well. The technology can also be integrated with a biometric system to make it more useful.
Here are 5 unique applications of QR Codes:
QR Code Menus
Use QR code-based menus. It is super easy to scan a QR-based menu and as a café/ restaurant owner, you can change it digitally (dynamic QR Code) as well as create a new one each week and a separate QR-based menu for daily specials.
QR Codes on Plane Tickets
QR Codes for ticketing and entry at airports (airport check-ins) are super easy. The quick scanning is time-saving. It ensures that there is no queue and as a flyer, you don’t have to carry a ticket. You can just show your ticket QR on your smartphone and you are in.
QR Codes for fashion
Have you seen a QR Code on a t-shirt? QR codes on clothes are a cool fashion statement. You can customize the QR Code with some fancy quote or meaningful message; use colorful QR Codes, etc.
QR Codes on Wine Bottles
QR Codes are now used on wine bottles as well. Wine brands use QR codes to club it with their wine bottle labels as part of their branding and encode QR codes with stories about the wine, history, fermentation methods, vineyards, etc. It helps consumers with more information about the brand and makes a connection between the brand and the consumer.
QR Code-based Ads and Promotions
It was 2010 when Inception movie promotions were going on. The team used QR Codes as part of their promotional activity and launched t-shirts, flyers, billboards, etc. Now that you can scan a QR Code with a smartphone, it is excessively being used by brands and advertising firms to serve QR-based ads on mobile and even on billboards.
To summarize, QR Codes are super helpful in sharing information, ads, promotions, etc. The quick scan feature is easy and ensures seamless access to places where QR is used for tickets. The QR Code structure has various zones, focus zones, quiet zones, etc. to make a QR Code more useful. On top of that, you can encode up to 7089 characters, texts, SMS, URLs, PDFs, images, etc. as QR Codes come with 2D data encoding (more data).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. 1. What is the full form of QR in QR Codes?
QR means Quick Response, which refers to the quick scanning feature of the QR technology.
Q.2. What is QR Code Structure?
QR Codes have advanced design and have various markers and zones, namely Position markers, Alignment markers, Quiet Zone, Timing pattern, Version information, Data area, and Format patterns.
This advanced design results in quick response that QR Codes are known for.
Q.3. Who invented QR Code?
QR Code was invented by Japanese engineer Masahiro Hara in 1994, Japan, when he was working at Denso Wave, the company which now holds the QR trademarks and patents. However, QR is free to use.
Q.4. What is best QR scanning Application available on Google Play Store?
You can download the RS-Lens QR Scanner app from the Google play store. It can read all kinds of QR Code, and keeps the history of each scan which you can export in PDF, CSV file formats as well.
- Last updated on Oct 10, 2023