Cracking the QR Code

Photo credit to Flickr User DBarefoot

Almost a year ago, in downtown New York, Calvin Klein Jeans put up a billboard that featured the phrase “Get it uncensored” and square blocky image, and their logo.The ad was one of the first major advertisements to show off the QR style bar code.  QR, or Quick Read codes have gained significant popularity in the last year, so if you haven’t noticed any yet, I’m sure you’ll start noticing them soon.

The first thing you’ll need to interact with QR codes is a scanning app for your smartphone. I recently tried out a handful of scanning apps for iPhone, and one seemed significantly faster and cleaner than the others. It’s simply called “Scan,” (itunes link) and it’s free.

There are many uses for these codes. Real estate agents have started putting QR codes on For Sale signs so potential buyers can see a website with interior photos and additional information. The Calvin Klein ad pictured above linked to a video of a Calvin Klein commercial. I use a QR code on my business card that when scanned brings up my contact information.

One grocery store in Korea wanted to expand, but didn’t want to invest in physical locations. They put up a virtual store on the walls of a train station. Shoppers could scan items with their phones, order them, and have them delivered. A very cool video about that project is here:

Some stores have put QR codes in their storefront windows so if someone shows up after hours, they can scan the code and be directed to the online store.

It’s easy to generate a QR code for your own use. Simply do a Google search for “QR Code generator” and you’ll find plenty of sites that will generate a code for you for free.

QR codes are a handy technology for quickly pulling digital information online from real physical locations. Download a scanning app, keep your eyes peeled for a code, and start scanning. Leave a comment and let everyone know what codes you’ve seen and scanned, or how you’ve used QR codes in your business.

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