A QR code (short for: Quick Response) consists of a two-dimensional barcode. This stores information in the form of signs and numbers and is used especially in industry and advertising.
The QR Code was developed in 1994 by a Japanese company for industry. In the meantime, advertising also uses the special code to transport information to the recipient. A lot of information can be stored in a square that is only a few centimetres in size. They are encoded in white and black pixels that cannot be deciphered by the naked eye. Using modern smartphones and tablets with a camera and a corresponding application, a QR code can be decrypted and made usable.
QR codes are two-dimensional and therefore always have a square shape. The information is stored in so-called modules. The more modules a QR code contains, the larger it is. In three corners of the code there are square position marks, which can be used to determine the exact placement of the code even in more extensive graphics. In addition to the data, a QR code also contains synchronization elements and the QR code version number. A QR code can store up to 7,089 numeric characters and up to 4,296 alphanumeric characters.
In contrast, a conventional EAN barcode can store just 13 numeric characters. How much data a QR code can actually store depends on the level of error correction level. The higher this is selected, the more often the information is repeated. If the memory space decreases, more reading errors of damaged codes can occur.
All information that can be displayed with letters and numbers can be stored in a QR code. They are used particularly frequently to store long Internet addresses, e-mail addresses, contact data, pre-formulated SMS or e-mails or a simple text. With regard to marketing campaigns, QR codes can also be used as mobile coupons, e. g. to access a landing page with a discount code.
Particularly interesting in this context are the possibilities of digital processing after reading the QR code. For example, the following activities can be performed automatically after detection:
QR codes can be used on almost any medium that can be printed. In addition to conventional print products such as magazines or advertising posters, the contact data on business cards can also be displayed as a QR code. QR codes can be found on walls, clothing, product and food packaging, entrance tickets and even tattooed into the skin as tattoos.
The QR Code offers the user as well as the advertiser a multitude of advantages:
The disadvantage of the user is that he/she cannot recognize beforehand what is hidden behind the QR code – they can only find this out once it is scanned. However, if the code contains malware, it can infect your phone. For this reason, you should preferably use a scanning software that asks before executing the code whether the execution is really desirable.