Whether they’re on cinema posters, cereal boxes or magazine adverts - QR codes are everywhere nowadays. You only need to look at print media to see how they have penetrated daily life. The rise in popular use has been driven by advances in technology, as well as the dominance of smartphones. But what are QR codes?
Given their full name, Quick Response codes are square tags which can be scanned - much in the same way barcodes are read. Any phone with a compatible QR application and internet access can perform a scan. Once the code is read a target webpage is opened.
The best part about it is that you can do it all for free. All you have to do is download a QR reader and away you go. Among the most popular apps are ‘RedLaser’ [can be used on iPhone, Android and Windows models] ‘Barcode Scanner’ [Android] and ‘QR Code Scanner Pro’ [Blackberry].
QR codes can act as great shortcuts to exclusive offers and content while you're on the move.
It gives users the ability to access sites in a flash, eliminating the need to open up a mobile browser and type an entire web address in.
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Here is a look at some of the most unique ways in which QR codes have been used:
Food shopping in South Korea
Ever been so busy you couldn’t possibly find time to do the weekly shop? Enterprising thinkers in South Korea found the perfect hi-tech solution to this problem by creating “virtual shops”, where goods are not stocked but just pictured on the wall, alongside a QR bar. After scanning the attached code shoppers can then pay on their phones, safe in the knowledge that their food will be delivered directly to their home.
The idea was intended to strike a chord with commuters with very little time and space to carry home bags of shopping, with the micro Tesco Homeplus stores placed in subway stations. Early takeup for the scheme saw Homeplus experience a 130% boom in online sales, with city workers in Seoul incorporating it into their daily lives.
How far would you go to get much needed sponsorship? For sportspeople at the lower end of the financial spectrum, QR codes have opened up new possibilities which can lead to much-needed funding. For members of Conference South football team Bromley FC this meant having to get codes shaved on the back of their heads ahead of a FA Cup first round clash with Leyton Orient.
The tie-up with Betfair saw Wayne Rooney’s hairstylist Daniel Johnson go into intricate detail, marking out a specific design on each player’s head. "The lads were shocked when I asked them to take part,” said Bromley FC manager Mark Goldberg. “They know what this could mean for the club and they're looking forward to showing them off in our biggest game of the season.”
Despite the level of commitment on show, the deal failed to get as much exposure as a pair volleyball players who agreed to include QR codes on their bikinis at the London Olympics.
Remembering your loved one in just a few words often creates a dilemma. What could you possibly say? Thanks to an American gravestone maker, Quiring Monuments, that choice was made slightly easier as they began to add QR codes to customised headstones.
It allows family members to link to a site where pictures, videos and tributes can be uploaded. Users can also log on and add their memories to the page, creating a pool of well-wishers. Quiring Monuments say that this is a “living” memorial that has revolutionised the way we remember loved ones, at a cost of just under £50.