Barcodes have been in use in retail since 1974 when the first barcode in retail was scanned in an Ohio (USA) retail store. IBM was behind the development of this barcode scanner. Barcodes have greatly simplified the identification of retail items and simplified inventory management and stockkeeping in retail stores, allowing for a smooth shopping experience and high profit. Barcoding allows employees to quickly scan a barcode on a product label and save the information on a computer screen, without manually entering the same. It simplified POS (Point of Sale) and allowed customers to quickly pay for their items and check out.
However, a barcode is limited by its design in terms of data it could store and the scanning, which has to be a clear line of sight and requires specific alignment. Many barcode scans also failed. And now we have QR Codes, a better version of barcodes. QR Codes are destined to replace barcodes for good.
Let’s see some of the interestingly cool facts about QR Codes, which might be unknown to many:
Interesting Facts about QR Codes
1. The QR code, short for Quick Response code, was first developed in 1994 by a Japanese company called Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota, to track vehicles during the manufacturing process. ‘QR’ reflects its purpose of providing quick access to information when scanned.
2. QR code was invented by Japanese engineer Masahiro Hara who had previously worked with barcodes. He was inspired by the black-and-white patterns of the popular board game ‘GO’.
3. DENSO WAVE made the specifications of the QR Code publicly available, allowing anyone to use it freely. Although DENSO WAVE retained the patent rights, they decided not to exercise them, allowing the QR Code to be used by as many people as possible.
4. The QR code was designed to be a two-dimensional barcode that could store more information than traditional barcodes, such as URLs, text, and other data. The versatility makes QR Codes useful in a wide range of applications.
5. QR Codes can contain around 3K bits of data which is around 7000 characters, far more than barcodes.
6. Initially, QR codes were mainly used in the automotive industry for inventory management and tracking. However, their use expanded to other industries and applications over time.
7. QR codes have become popular in advertising and marketing campaigns. They can be printed on various media, such as posters, billboards, product packaging, and business cards, to provide quick access to additional information or promotional content when scanned.
8. In the retail industry, QR codes are used for product information, price comparisons, and mobile payments. Customers can scan QR codes to access detailed product descriptions, reviews, and pricing information, or make purchases directly from their smartphones.
9. In 2010, QR Codes were also part of film promotion when the movie Inception (2010) was released. QR Codes were used on posters and t-shirts and led to a promotional website named ‘What Is Dream share’, hyping the mystery around the movie.
10. While QR codes are used globally, they have gained significant popularity in Asian countries like India, China, and Japan. In these countries, QR codes are commonly used for mobile payments, ticketing, and accessing information. India’s UPI (Unified Payments Interface), a payment platform that clocks billions of transactions every year is heavily dependent on QR Codes.
11. QR codes are widely used in ticketing and event management. They can be used for electronic tickets, boarding passes, and event registration. Scanning a QR code can quickly validate the ticket or registration and provide access to the event.
12. QR codes are used in loyalty programs and customer engagement. Customers can scan QR codes to join loyalty programs, receive discounts or rewards, and participate in interactive experiences, such as contests or surveys.
13. QR codes are used in digital marketing and advertising to track the effectiveness of campaigns. Marketers can generate unique dynamic QR codes for different channels or campaigns and track the number of scans and conversions to measure the success of their marketing efforts.
14. QR codes are used in educational settings as well. Teachers can create QR codes to provide additional resources, links to online content, or interactive activities for students. Students can scan the codes with their smartphones or tablets to access the information.
15.QR codes are used in museums and exhibitions to provide additional information about exhibits. It allows visitors to access audio guides, videos, or detailed descriptions of the artifacts or artworks when scanning a QR Code next to exhibits.
16. QR codes have been incorporated into currency. For example, the Royal Dutch Mint issued the world's first official coin with a QR code to celebrate the centenary of its current building and premises. The QR code can be scanned to access a special website with content about the historical event and design of the coin.
17. One can generate a QR Code on the web as well as add texts, messages, or URLs. It can be done free of cost as well.
18. GS1, the organization for standards on UPC barcodes, is now planning to use QR codes along with barcodes on trade products. By 2027, it is looking to replace barcodes.
19. One can download RS Lens, a QR code scanner app that can read all kinds of barcodes and keep the history of scans as well. It is available on the Google Play Store.
QR Codes and Future
20. In the future, QR codes are expected to play a significant role in contactless interactions and transactions. With the increasing adoption of mobile payments and digital wallets, QR codes can be used for secure and convenient transactions by scanning codes displayed on screens or printed on receipts or invoices.
21. QR codes can be used for authentication and verification purposes. They can provide an additional layer of security by allowing users to scan a code to confirm their identity or authorize access to sensitive information or systems.
22. QR codes can be used for health and safety purposes. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, QR codes have been used for contact tracing, allowing individuals to scan codes at various locations to track potential exposure to the virus.
23. QR codes can be used for authentication and verification purposes. For example, some COVID-19 vaccination records include a QR code that can be scanned to verify the vaccination history of an individual.
24. QR codes can be used for personalized experiences and recommendations. Users can access customized content, recommendations, or offers based on their preferences and previous interactions simply by scanning a QR code.
25. QR codes can be used for augmented reality (AR) experiences. Scanning a QR code can trigger an AR overlay, allowing users to interact with virtual objects or access additional information in a real-world environment.
26. QR codes can be used for smart packaging and supply chain management. QR Codes can be incorporated into product packaging allowing manufacturers to track and trace products throughout the supply chain, ensuring authenticity, quality control, and efficient logistics.
27. QR codes can be used for digital menus and ordering in restaurants and cafes. Customers can scan QR codes at their tables to access menus, place orders, and make payments, reducing the need for physical menus and contact with staff.
28. QR codes can be used for personalized marketing and advertising. Upon scanning a QR code, users can receive targeted offers, recommendations, or content based on their location, preferences, or previous interactions with a brand.
29. QR codes can be customized to include logos, colors, and other design elements while still maintaining their functionality. Thus businesses and individuals can create visually appealing QR codes that align with their branding.
30. QR codes can be used for interactive packaging and product information. Scanning a QR code on a product can provide users with detailed information about ingredients, usage instructions, sustainability practices, and other relevant details. Many wine brands have started using QR codes on their wine bottles to share the stories of the wine, recipes, and the history behind the brand.
QR codes have become an integral part of our digital world, enabling quick and convenient access to information across various industries and applications. Since its invention in 1994, QR Codes and QR scanning both have come a long way and now one does not require a dedicated QR scanner but can use a smartphone to scan a QR code, anytime, anywhere.
- Last updated on Oct 28, 2023