Peacock Tales • Spring 2012


What in the Heck is a QR Code?

By Andrew Chumney

Where did you see one for the first time?  Was it on the back of a ketchup bottle at a restaurant?  Or inside an advertisement in the Sunday paper?  Maybe you have never seen one and are wondering what in the heck that funny looking black and white square is doing in the latest edition of Peacock Tales?

This is a QR (or Quick Response) Code.  It is a 3D barcode that can store website URL’s, plain text, phone numbers, email addresses or other data.  But how does one get from the strange looking black and white design (the “code”) to the website or whatever other information that user is supposed to see?

OR codes are read with mobile devices that have a camera and a QR code reader such as SmartPhones or the iPad 2.  To get the QR code reader on the device you need to download the reader or “app” (application).  Once installed, you launch the app and point your phone at the QR code, the device then reads the QR Code like a bar code reader and opens to whatever the code is linked to.  For example, a scan of the QR Code on this page will take you to Peacock Keller’s homepage on our website.

While many QR codes simply take you directly to a company’s website, another alternative could be to place a QR code on your business card and instead of squeezing your name, your company’s name, logo, address, telephone, fax, email, website URL, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn profiles, you can put some or all of that information on a vCard which can be more easily stored in the person’s contact list.  Business cards are just one unique example of where you might find a QR code.  I recently saw one placed on the back of a truck for a business while ZI was sitting at a red light (although since Pennsylvania’s new texting law had just gone into effect, I withheld the urge to pull out my phone to scan the code while behind the wheel).

Although QR codes have been around for a while and are very popular in Japan and Korea, they are relatively new and continue to struggle to gain the same popularity in the U.S.  In fact, a recent study found that less than 5% of the American public has scanned a QR code. So while QR codes may be in their infancy in the U.S., don’t be surprised if you start seeing them pop up in more and more places in your daily life, unless of course they are quickly replaced with MVS (a mobile visual search)…but that’s for an entirely different article…so stay tuned.

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Peacock Keller, LLP • 70 East Beau Street • Washington PA 15301 • 724-222-4520