Quick Response codes are a remarkable invention.
With a simple scan, QR Codes allow users to quickly access information all over the Internet. Solving the longstanding problem of complicated URLs and domain names.
Their invention in 1994 quickly took off through their potential to revolutionize the way we interact with digital content. However, it wasn’t until the last two years that QR codes have become that much more popular.
But it begs the question: why now? After years of living in obscurity, why do these codes suddenly seem to be everywhere?
In this article, we’ll dive into this question. Exploring their history, their benefits, and why they’ve quickly become one of the most popular ways to communicate information to your audience.
QR code history: industrial beginnings?
Though few people realize, quick response codes first became popular in the automotive industry. After their invention by Denso-Wave in 1994, they were quickly picked up by car manufacturers (like Toyota) as a way to streamline the manufacturing process.
At the time, carmakers were looking for a way to reduce the number of steps it took to make a car in an assembly line. QR codes allowed workers to identify parts with a quick, easy scan. Thus eliminating the need for workers to memorize specific part numbers, and the details of those parts.
This early success led the codes to being used in many other industries. However, it wasn’t until the mid 2010s that they started to gain mainstream inertia among individuals in Western nations.
The benefits of Quick Response Codes
Recently it is as though QR codes are exploding in popularity for a number of reasons. And we’ll explore these reasons in more detail below. But first, let’s take a look at some of the key benefits of using them.
Ease of use
QR codes are incredibly easy to scan and use, which makes them perfect for a wide range of applications. And with most phones now capable of scanning a QR Code with your camera phone, they’ve never been easier to utilize.
QR codes now serve a variety of purposes. From marketing and navigation, to improving your manufacturing efficiency. They’re gaining a ton of steam as a simple, effective way to share contact information between two parties.
QR codes transmit information much faster than traditional web addresses. And because you don’t have to type in lengthy, complicated domain names, you can navigate the Web with ease.
These benefits helped to make QR codes one of the most popular ways to send information. And with the now-ubiquitous use of smartphones and mobile apps (compared to 1994), QR codes have now become more of an attractive option for companies and individuals alike.
The opportunities – and possibilities – of QR codes are endless.
There are several reasons why QR codes are gaining traction. Let’s explore a few of them.
1. The ubiquity of smartphones
With over 2 billion active users, there’s a good chance that most people you know have a smartphone in their pocket. In 1994, virtually nobody on Earth had a smartphone, and in the early 2010s, internet-accessible mobile devices weren’t anywhere near as popular in the West as they now are today.
With over 97% of Americans now owning a smartphone with high quality camera phones, QR codes have finally reached their tipping point.
2. The advancement of mobile technology
The second reason is because of faster processing speeds, and constant software updates. This makes it easier for people to quickly scan QR codes with little need to explicitly download a third party application to scan one.
However, with the advent of IOS 11 and Android 8, scanning QR codes is now built directly into most camera applications. This means users can scan a QR code without having to download any additional software.
3. The rise of mobile marketing
The third reason why QR codes are beginning to gain steam is because of the rise of mobile marketing.
Most of the world uses internet-accessible phones, and they’re being used more often than their home computers. Businesses are shifting their advertising efforts towards mobile devices, and when they make a chance, the rest of us tend to follow suit.
QR codes are becoming an increasingly popular way to engage customers. With a simple scan, users can be taken to any landing page you want to guide them to.
4. The COVID-19 pandemic
With pandemic restrictions having a significant impact on everyday life all over the world, people have been forced to find new and innovative ways to transfer information without contact.
At the advent of the pandemic, for example, restaurant menus are now QR codes to scan at your dinner table. You don’t have to wonder how many hands have touched the menu before you have now.
More generally, QR codes have been beneficial in reducing the transfer of germs. Restaurant menus or a person’s business card; people are reducing their risk of needlessly catching the flu.
5. The rise of the Internet of Things
Lastly, the Internet of Things has been a significant push towards simplifying the purchasing, set-up, and connection of hardware devices – all of which are improved by QR codes.
For example, when assembling a furniture purchase, there’s often a QR code on the packaging that will connect you to resourceful information.
In summary, they are an amazing invention that have quickly become one of the most popular ways to send information. They’re easy to use on practically any mobile device.
But they weren’t always this popular.
So what’s changing? Why are QR codes so popular now?
Simple: technology & convenience – both of which are accelerating by the recent pandemic.
As the market moves towards encouraging mobile-friendly experiences, QR codes are becoming a necessary part of our lives. As smartphones become more advanced, the ability to quickly and easily scan QR codes becomes much easier.
Thank you for reading this article! If you’re looking for more information (safety and design tips) on QR codes, be sure to check out some of the other articles on our website.