QR Codes: Everything You Need to Know


QR Codes: Everything You Need to Know

QR codes were invented as a response to the ever-growing need for more capabilities from barcodes, such as the type or quantity of data requirements.

What Is a QR code?

Here’s our guide to everything you need to know about QR codes.

What Is a QR code?

QR stands for ‘Quick Response’, which is a direct reflection on the ease of use of this type of barcode. Easily scanned by the camera on a smartphone or a relevant scanner in businesses, QR codes link the scanner to a wealth of information. For this reason, they’re becoming increasingly popular, as businesses strive for everything to be better, faster and easier for the consumer.


When Were QR Codes Invented?

QR codes were invented between 1992 and 1994 by developers working for a company called Denso Wave in Japan. They’d been asked to see if there was a way to hold more data in a code than was possible in standard EAN and UPC barcodes.

It took two years of research and development into ways they could arrange the code two-dimensionally to be recognisable by machines and humans alike. They searched through all kinds of publications to find the least likely visual arrangement of data, which they could then use as the recognisable pattern of a QR code. This means QR codes can be scanned from 360°, without the scanner confusing any surrounding data for part of the code.


How Are They Different to a 1D Barcode?

2D barcodes, such as QR codes, hold a much greater amount of data than a traditional 1D barcode. In fact, QR codes can hold up to 7,089 numbers, as opposed to an EAN barcode holding up to 30!

For wholesalers, retailers and distributors, QR codes are valuable as they can hold data such as production dates, item price and availability, meaning business operations can run smoothly with no need for a backup information system.

For advertisers, marketing companies and individuals alike, QR codes offer a unique way for consumers to be immediately linked to them, through a web address or contact details included in the QR code data.


When Might I Need to Use a QR code?

QR codes have multiple uses across various sectors, including:

1. Manufacture and distribution

QR codes were originally used in the automotive trade in Japan, as a way to track parts in production. As consumer awareness has grown in recent decades, QR codes provide a way to be able to track a product throughout its lifespan, from production, through distribution and onto the end user with all the data in one place.

2. Advertising and marketing

Billboard and bus stop adverts often use a QR code as part of consumer interaction. Whether you can scan the code to get a voucher – it’s estimated that 5.3 billion vouchers will be redeemed in this manner by 2022 – or if the code automatically sends you to the relevant page of the advertiser’s website, they encourage a ‘quick response’.

3. Retail

Receipts often include a QR code as a digital copy. Online shopping delivery labels usually have a QR code on that will be used by the courier company. They can even be used in conjunction with online banks and retailers as a payment method.


To conclude…

In a 2014 interview with Masahiro Hara, co-inventor of the QR code, Hara expresses his surprise at how popular and commonplace QR codes have become in our everyday lives. The inventors were honoured at Japan’s 2012 Good Design Awards for their contribution of the QR code, and for the fact that although the design was patented it remains in the public domain, encouraging others to use them freely.

For this reason, we don’t see the QR slowing down in popularity any time soon. We can print QR code labels for your business whichever sector you are in, so contact Tanto Labels today for a free quote for your new QR code labels.

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