Wednesday, February 24, 2010

QR Codes Next Big Thing

A bar code called Quick Response or QR Code is expected to begin having an impact on business information in the coming year and printers will have to know how to print it properly on customer’s material.

Printers already print bar codes. The new QR Code (or 2D Code) contains information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, where a bar code contains data in one direction only. QR Code holds a considerably greater volume of information than a bar code. In Japan, most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera and access additional information about the product. Initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging).

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs (web addresses) are expected to start appearing in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards or just about any object that users might need information about. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader software can scan the image of the QR Code causing the phone's browser to launch and redirect to the programmed URL. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hardlink or physical world hyperlinks.

For instance, a menu may include a QR code that links to a page with nutritional information. A business card may include a QR code that links to a web-site, blog or social networking site. The ability to direct a consumer to specific information will tie printed material closer to the Internet.

The QR codes are expected to start popping up in North America in the coming year as mobile phone companies add the software to their cameras. Printers should expect to get inquiries from customers soon.

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