QR Codes are two-dimensional barcodes that can store up to 4,296 alphanumeric or 7,089 numeric characters. They were first created back in 1994 in Japan for use in car manufacturing plants to track vehicle parts and inventory. In the 19 years since then, QR codes have seen a dramatic rise in popularity – mainly due to the increase in smartphone sales and the fact that smartphones can be used to scan QR codes.
The rate at which QR code interaction is increasing is almost unbelievable, from July 2010 to December 2010 QR Code scans had a 1,200% increase – in just 5 months!
We’re starting to see QR codes pop up all over the place. I’ve seen them on product packaging, advertisements, business cards, food, clothing and websites, and there is no signs of ‘the QR invasion’ slowing down. In fact, quite the opposite, QR codes are being implemented in more and more places, and with greater functionality – Starbucks now allows its customers to place an order and pay for it on their smartphone using QR codes, meaning they spend far less time waiting in line.
I found this infographic which lists some of the interesting facts and figures about QR codes today and the uses they are being put to now, instead of just being used for tracking vehicle parts in car manufacturing plants. Take a look at the infographic below:
Pretty amazing, right? When you consider its original and intended use, compared to the many uses companies are putting it to today, and the short amount of time it’s taken for QR codes to hit the mainstream.
It looks like Apple have at least played a part in bringing the QR codes into the realm of the public – with well two-thirds (68%) of all QR code scans being performed on an Apple device (more than likely one of the iPhone devices, which can all scan QR codes thanks to the free QR scanning apps).
With companies such as Starbucks, Tesco, Ford, Audi, Pepsi, Ford, Best Buy, Ralph Lauren and Victoria’s Secret all jumping on board with QR code campaigns, I would say that it’s safe to say the QR code evolution is still on the rise.
One cool example of how QR codes are being put to better uses every day is Tesco. They opened the first ‘virtual store’ at an underground station in Korea, allowing commuters to do their shopping while they wait for the train. To shop, you simply browse down the aisles like you would in a normal shop, the only difference is that all of the products are virtual! You scan a QR code under the virtual product, it gets added to your basket on your smartphone, you can then checkout on your smartphone and your shopping will be delivered to your door.
This is a superb innovation for QR codes, and something I think we’ll be seeing more of in upcoming years – Tesco have already confirmed that they have plans to bring a virtual store to the UK soon. I wonder what else 2013 has in store for QR Codes.
Author Bio: The author of this article is a design and marketing consultant, he recommends using visualead.com for all of your visual qr code needs.