QR Codes: what are they and how can they help me?

What are QR Codes

Whether you’re walking down the street, riding in a taxi or patrolling the aisles of a supermarket, the chances are you’ll see some form of leaflet, business card or billboard sporting a black and white barcode-like icon.

So what are these grainy barcodes? And what can you use them for?

The QR Code

QR codes, (or Quick Response codes), are two-dimensional barcodes originally designed for the Japanese car industry. They essentially store a whole bunch of information about a product or website.

QR codes are in many ways the same as the barcodes that you’ll see in the supermarket; they allow you to open up a website using your smartphone by simply scanning the code, as opposed to manually typing in the URL of a website.

Who can use a QR code?

QR codes have transformed the way that consumers and businesses conduct their everyday activities. With the rise of technology being used in commercial establishments, and a large proportion of the UK owning smartphones, QR codes have altered the way companies advertise, market and sell their services.

 It also makes the life of the consumer easier too; QR codes remove the need to manually search for companies, contacts or deals by signposting people directly to the website or webpage that they want. For instance, you might see a QR code on a business card; by scanning it, you will be taken directly to the contact’s personal page within the website, rather than having to scroll through various pages in search for the page you want, saving you time (and precious megabytes of data!).

How do I scan a QR code?

The joy of QR codes is that, above all, they’re easy to use. With half of the UK population owning a smartphone, the number of people who can access material via a QR code has exploded.

Simply open up your phone’s camera or QR code app and your device will automatically take a still shot, process it, and take you directly to the website that is connected with the code. It really is that simple!

Apps for scanning QR codes

Some smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S3, have in-built QR code scanners. However, if your Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry or iPhone doesn’t have this feature, it is incredibly easy to download a free app from your phone’s app store.

Mobilephones.com QR CodesSome great apps for Android include the QR Barcode Scanner, or QR Droid available for free in the Google Play Store; for iPhone is Red Laser or the QR Reader for iPhone app; quite simply the QR Code Reader available in the Windows Phone app store; and last but not least the QR Code Scanner Pro for BlackBerry devices, which is also free.  

Try it now and open up a world of QR code possibilities!

Written by Charlotte Kertrestel

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