The death of QR codes

When looking back at 2012, QR codes went from being nowhere to being in the strangest of places. Since it was a new way to catch your audience using a bit of suspense it was quickly picked up by ad agencies and posted all over. 2012 was the year of the QR code so how will it be in the year to come – will we see QR codes in 2013?

The reports of the death of QR codes has been greatly exaggerated. For the ad agencies that saw QR codes as the absolute replacement for URLs on billboards and brand names at the back of buses I have bad news. To use QR codes for these areas is bad. It is bad implementation that is the downfall of QR codes, not the codes themselves. There are some great implementations using QRs though but still no one should see QR codes as the magic solution to everything. They’re just an alternative to a url.

The QR code was invented in Japan by the Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave in 1994 to track vehicles during the manufacturing process, and originally was designed to allow components to be scanned at high speed. It has since become one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes.

One of the better implementations I’ve seen using QR codes is the SVT Play Remote control. This is for one of the bigger TV channels in Sweden where a QR code are using in the play application for the channel. Using a QR code you can pull up a dynamic remote control which is connected to your session and using that remote control the playback of your session. The part of this solution which is filled by a QR code could just as easy been any of many other techniques but a code in this place is ultimate since it can push a complex url to a client using simple method.

QR codes is a great way of providing a complex url to a client to minimize the work for the user. And as with any technique that is simplifying for the end user, it will be used. Just look at the regular barcodes with lines, this is not that different from those. Where a regular barcode can be read into a line of numbers these codes can give you en entire url. The codes were born out of the industry as a way of quick scanning and identifying and it is still what it does best.

This is a single example but it prove the point I have on QR codes. They are here and they will be here in 2013. And beyond. Will they still be used on billboards though? Most likely not.

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