By Steve Whalen
By now you have surely seen those odd looking black and white squares in magazines, newspapers, on signs, and online? They’re called QR codes (abbreviated from Quick Response code). First designed for the automotive industry by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 for the purpose of tracking parts, they have recently become quite popular outside of the auto industry due to their fast readability and comparatively large storage capacity.
What is a QR code?
A QR Code is a two-dimensional barcode that has a URL (Web address), text, or other information encoded in it. It can be read by a QR code scanner.
How can I read a QR code?
If you have a smart phone or smart device such as an iPhone, Blackberry, Android, iPad or Tablet, you can find a QR code reader for free. They are readily available for free from your app store by searching for “QR code reader”, or download one from a variety of free Web sites such as Kaywa.com. Run the app and then hold your phone’s camera over a QR code to read it. Most QR codes will have a URL encoded, so chances are when you read the QR code it will take you to a partcular Web page or video.
What’s the point of QR codes?
QR codes link offline information to online content. They can be used on print material to conveniently include a direct link to your Web page, information on an upcoming event, a video, contact information, or a map and directions to your practice. Some even allow bill payments via PayPal – the possibilities are endless. QR codes are easy to make, there are various free Web sites that you can use to create them, and many even have dashboard features that can track the number of times a QR code is scanned and provide complete analytics to help target your use.