Friday, 5 September 2014

QR Codes (Quick Response Codes)

For most Blackberry (BB) Users, Quick Response (QR) Codes are nothing new. You may have seen it before, even if you are not a BB user. QR Code is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode or two dimensional barcode. It was evented by Denso Wave in 1994 with the sole purpose of tracking vehicles during manufacture. It is a machine optical label that uses four standardized encoding modes (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, and kanji) to efficiently store data; extensions may be used too.

QR codes can store URLs (Uniform Resource Identifier ), contact details like vCard, phone numbers, messages (SMS) and even an encrypted message for fast readability compared to the normal UPC (Universal Product Code) barcodes as illustrated below. That is why the name Quick Response (QR) was derived.

Even though it started off in the automotive industry, it is now widely used in product tracking, item identification, time tracking, mobile marketing, blackberry messenger, Even the Japanese immigration system now uses encrypted QR codes when issuing visa in passports for security reasons.

When you look at a QR code you will see square dots (black modules) arranged in a square grid on a white background, which can be read by an imaging device such as a camera or most modern smart devices with a camera and processed using Reed Solomon error correction until the image can be appropriately interpreted.

Today, most publications like university catalogs, business cards, books, magazines, articles have a QR code printed on them. Even the boxes of printers, TVs or other electronics now come with these codes. When you bring a QR reader close to the code, it quickly detects it and translates it to a message that can easily be understood by the user. When scanned, most QR codes takes you to the website (URL) of the organization or company that has the QR code. A printing company recommends that the minimum size for a printed QR code should be 0.03 inches (0.76 mm) square for a single "module", that is one "bit" of the code, to ensure that the printed result is legible for scanners or smart devices.

Having a QR code on your business card makes it easy in the sense that clients may forget your website address or even misspell it, or may not have the patience to type it out. With QR codes, this problem is taken care of.  Also BBM users can easily scan codes of friends and spontaneously add them to their contact list. It can’t get any better or I might just say perhaps someone may just invent something better.

With the beauty of this technology, comes its down side. It is advised that you should only scan reliable QR codes as some codes could carry malicious scripts or take you to a dangerous website with browser exploits.