Resource Guide On QR Codes

Today QR codes have become popular in marketing, advertising and social media industries.
QR stands for Quick Response code. It is a 2D barcode consisting of black modules in a square pattern on a white background found on products, in magazines and a multitude of other places. When scanned with a QR code reader, a user can be taken to a website where more information on the product is available. The barcode consisting of just horizontal lines is a pre-cursor to the QR codes that are so popular today. Unlike barcodes, QR codes encode data both horizontally and vertically, which allows more data to be encoded in a smaller amount of space.

History

Toyota subsidiary, Denso Wave, originally created the QR code in 1994 to track automobiles during the manufacturing process. Because of their universal readability and large storage capacity, Denso Wave and other companies began to make improvements to the QR code to be used outside the automobile industry. At first, QR codes were frequently used in Japan and the United Kingdom but have become very popular in the US in recent times.

A Novel Secret Sharing Technique Using QR Codes – Information on how data privacy can be enhanced during the scanning and transmission of QR codes.
7 Things You Should Know About QR Codes – A great Q&A explaining all the basics of QR codes.
About 2D Code – Information on how regular barcodes have started to make the transition to 2D barcodes.
QR Codes in Education – A discussion of how QR codes can be used in the classroom to share information with students.
QR Codes – In-depth information on the management of QR code technology.

Uses/Purposes

QR codes can be found everywhere from billboard advertisements to the classroom. Common uses include tracking products, marketing products, sending video links, promoting contests, sharing vCards, distributing coupons, providing theme park and museum information, scheduling a calendar of events and much more. Some city and county governments have implemented QR codes into parking meter systems. Residents can now pay for meter time using a QR code. Educators believe that QR codes are a way for students to become engaged with information that is linked to a website. At the university level, departments use QR codes all over campus to distribute information. Museums provide self-guided tours via QR codes for visitors to pull up on their cell phone devices. The United States Post Office has even implemented QR technology to offer discounts to businesses that utilize the codes.

Mobile Barcode Promotion – Information on the Mobile Barcode Promotion program being run by the United States Postal Service.
2d/QC Code Usage Best Practices and Recommendations – Information on QR code usage including best practices and recommendations.
Schools Use QR Codes to Embed Learning – How schools are starting to use QR codes to embed learning in the classroom.
Mobile/Cell Phone Tours – How cell phones can be used along with QR code readers to take tours of historic sites.
Pay-by-Cell Service with Addition of Quick Response (QR) Code Scanning – Information on how cell phones and QR code readers are being used for pay-by-cell services.

How to Use

When a barcode is scanned, it is only able to identify the name and price of a product. When a QR code is scanned, it has more capabilities. It can pull up a website or download a file. The most popular way to scan or read a QR code is through a cell phone. Users can download a QR code reader application to their cell phone. Most smart phones have a QR code reading application that you can download for free. After you have installed the application, you use your camera on the phone to scan the QR code. The reader decodes the data and can display a website, calendar or whatever is programmed into the QR code. Some applications require you to sign up for an online account with username and password to access the reader. You can also create your own QR codes to share with others. QR code generating sites allow anyone to create and print your own QR codes. This service is also usually offered at no cost.

How To Use and Create QR Codes – An article that discusses how to use and create quick response codes.
Barcodes in the Classroom – How barcodes and QR codes are starting to be used in classrooms to enhance learning.
Installing a QR Code Scanner – A breakdown of the step by step process of installing a QR code reader on your cell phone.
In a Nutshell: What Are QR Codes? – A great explanation of QR codes including information on how they are different than barcodes.

QR Code Readers/Generators – Information on how QR codes are generated along with some resources.

Risks

There are security risks when scanning QR codes with a cell phone device. Malicious QR codes can invade privacy rights, link users to dangerous websites and enable applications on your phone such as the GPS feature, camera, or microphone to stream data to a remote site. These actions may happen unknowingly as the browser will pull up a blank page. Cell phone hackers are also creating mobile viruses through QR coding. The hacker can infect the phone with a virus and enable it to automatically send texts to a premium-rate SMS service. Users are charged for unauthorized outgoing text messages. Since the code is not immediately decipherable, you don’t know you’ve been infected until after you have scanned the code. Be cautious of the source you obtain your QR code from to prevent unauthorized use of your phone. Only scan credible sources to ensure you are not infecting your phone with malware or a virus.

Russian QR codes Used to Send Malware to Mobile Devices – An article discussing how mobile hackers in Russia are using QR codes as a platform to send viruses.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau Warns Misuse of QR Codes May Pose Security Risk – An article about the misuse of QR codes and how this could pose a security risk.
Sensor Tricoder: What Does That Sensor Know About Me – Information on how apps work along with sensor data to read QR codes.
QR Tags Used by Cyber Criminals – How QR code tags can be used by cyber criminals to direct victims to malicious websites.

QR Code Risks – Information on some of the security risks associated with QR codes.

QR Codes / Social Media

Social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn allow users to initiate a viral QR code campaign to promote themselves or their business. Viral marketing is word of mouth advertising that costs little and is very effective in reaching hundreds or thousands of consumers. With QR technology, users can generate a code that includes a link to a website that displays a business. QR codes can also share information on your education, experience and background for those seeking employment. Once you have created your QR code, you can post it to your page which will automatically be shared with all the friends in your network. Facebook or LinkedIn friends can then scan the QR code to view you or your company’s information. The idea is for users to open your QR code and post your code on their page to be shared within their network as well. Facebook and LinkedIn have applications that make it easy for you to integrate the QR codes into their system.

“Quick” Tips for Marketing with QR Codes – An article explaining how QR codes can be used in marketing.
How 6 News Organizations are Using QR Codes to Drive Traffic to News Content – Information on how news outlets are beginning to use QR codes to send users to news content online.
The Dynamics of Viral Marketing – An introduction to the dynamics of viral marketing.
Social Media Marketing – Information on using social media as a marketing tool, and how QR codes can help.

Social Media & QR Codes – An article discussing the successes of those using QR codes on their social media profiles.