26 May 2011
The greatness of QR Codes is apparant – if you know what they are. That’s okay if you don’t, I just learned about them myself not too long ago. So what exactly is a QR code? QR stands for “Quick Response” and a QR Code is simply a barcode that you can link to several different types of data, including, URL addresses (websites), phone numbers, and text messages. They are a little like the bar codes that everyone has become accustomed to seeing on all merchandise. While popular in Japan for quite a while, they are only now catching on in the States and they are starting to show up everywhere from magazines, posters, business cards, even building signage.
As a test, I made this QR Code with the data being a URL to my website. It was pretty easy and very straight forward. In all, it took me about 15 seconds to create it. How amazingly cool is that!? (Although I don’t have any expectations that anyone will actually do that other than me, and I’ve already done it like 100 times.) If you wanted to get all crazy about it, you could take the URL (www.lifeofanarchitect.com) and run it through URL shortener site like bit.ly and get a custom and trackable URL link such as this: bit.ly/9w1Y60 it’s this shortened code that you enter into a QR code generator. Now I will be able to see how often and when someone will scan it to get to my site. While I can’t literally tell who came, I can tell that they came via the QR code. This would allow me to know all sorts of interesting things.
For example – lets say that I create a QR code for a particular project and I place this code on my job sign out at the project site. When people see the house, they could scan the code and it would take them to my website where they could see animations of the project, possible floor plans – maybe even one of my amusing, yet wildly enriching blog posts.
It isn’t that hard to imagine someone driving around the neighborhood and they see one of our projects and they want to know more. If they scan the code above it brings them to a dedicated URL on our website. Most QR readers also give you the option to save the link, or even email it to someone else “…Hey girlfriend, I just saw the most amazing modern house ever – you have to check this out. I’m sending you the link now…”
How about providing a look at the animation of a project under construction? It’s so easy for you to do this and a lot more – but the point is always the same. Information empowers people and now you have the ability to present a world of information to just about anyone in real time … without having to be there.
See what I mean? – amazing and powerful.
I went cruising around the internet to learn a little more and I found this graphic on Wikipedia that explained the components of the QR code itself:
Yea, I don’t know what any of that stuff means and I’m not all that sure that it matters. It would appear that only your imagination can limit the number of uses a QR code could be used for. Some examples include:
- Installation instructions
- Project Information Downloads
- Directions to a place of business
- Residential Project Data Sheets
- Special Offers and coupons
- The process for hiring your professional services
- Customer feedback forms
- Google Places maps
So how do you retrieve the information within the QR code? To access these codes, all you need is a smartphone (i.e. IPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.) that has a QR Code Reader installed. I’m not researching all the different options but lets just say that somebody else did and you could find them here. I just downloaded a free one on my iPhone and it works fine. You can even scan the QR codes in this post with your phone – I have tested them many, many times myself.
QR is a registered trademark of Denso Wave, a subsidiary of Toyota. Denso Wave has elected not to exercise their patent rights of QR codes and that has encouraged their widespread use. You can visit their website to learn more.
The website I went to to generate most of the QR codes in this post can be found here but you can just do a Google search on “QR Code Generator” and you will get a dazzling array of options presented to you. For those of you who want a little more control, I found the site of Kerem Erkan and he is obviously a bad ass. Here is a link to the QR Code generator on his site – it is the best one I’ve found so far and the one I plan on using in the foreseeable future.
I hope you found something of interest here – I am really excited about how I can incorporate these QR codes into my business. As if being cool wasn’t enough, these codes can actually provide an invaluable service to my current and future clients.