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QR codes – fear not… simple, useful technology

I had been ignoring coverage of the funky looking black and white box in the image above too. It looks like it’s for retailers or people with flying cars, not for me (which is code for “I was intimidated by it because it looked scary“). But guess what? This stuff is easy and you should check it out, it only takes a few seconds!

Get to the Point

Okay. The two dimensional code you see next to Rosie the Robot is called a QR Code which is short for “Quick Response” and it’s simply a matrix bar code that contains information. QR Codes were initially used as a tracking mechanism (do you recognize it from the FedEx box where the delivery guy points his reader at it and it scans info?) but leave it to tech geeks to make it apply to our daily lives.

If one person has a cell phone that is equipped to read a QR Code, they point and click at the QR Code and it will hardlink to the website that is programmed in the QR Code, in other words if you have a QR Code printed on your business card, the guy next to you on the train can point his cell phone at it and it will automatically enter your URL into their browser and BAM, they’re playing around on your site! Pretty cool, huh?

That IS Easy & Useful, How Do I Do It?

I told you this was easy! Aren’t you glad you didn’t ignore yet another article about the QR code? It’s not rocket science and it won’t change how the world turns, but it’s pretty dang cool.

Originally published on October 7, 2008.

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Lani is the COO and News Director at The American Genius, has co-authored a book, co-founded BASHH, Austin Digital Jobs, Remote Digital Jobs, and is a seasoned business writer and editorialist with a penchant for the irreverent.

59 Comments

59 Comments

  1. Ricardo Bueno

    October 7, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    Ok Lani…this is HARDCORE! (YOU are hardcore!)

    I don’t see myself printing that on the back of my business cards but it is pretty cool…

  2. Robquig

    October 7, 2008 at 10:39 pm

    Good post. I was just reading recently about how iPhone apps will use QR codes so you can redeem online coupons in stores without printing. I think it has a lot of potential for coupons and in other mobile transactions.

  3. Lani Anglin-Rosales

    October 7, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Ricardo, thanks. It took me a long time to warm up to the idea and un-lazy myself to look into it!

    If it’s not for your card, perhaps you’ll get it printed on a scarf or a T-shirt? πŸ™‚ If you print one on the back of your shirt, people behind you on the sidewalk or BART can get info on you without you even having to talk to them, woo hoo!

  4. Ben Goheen

    October 7, 2008 at 10:44 pm

    Interesting idea. Right now there are less than 80 cell phones that can read this code, and obviously Nokia thinks it’s the next big thing. I’m not sure how much it’ll catch on. My drivers license has this on the back and I’ve never seen it being used. Wait, does that mean that a guy on a train with a Nokia cell phone can scan my license and see my weight? Scary!

  5. Matt Collinge

    October 7, 2008 at 11:00 pm

    I think i used one of these a boarding pass for my flights last week. I hear they are actually catching on in Japan.

  6. Benn Rosales

    October 7, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    Well, ir is being phased out (someone please tell ekey and palm) so I’m guessing we’ll be needing a new mechanism very very soon to also be phased out very very soon by the next really simple thing πŸ˜‰ as long as my phone continues to get lighter and lighter, I’m cool with swapping them out over and over again… πŸ˜‰

  7. Ricardo Bueno

    October 7, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    @Lani: Re: “can get info on you without you even having to talk to them, woo hoo!”

    LoL. I’m sensing a little bit of an anti-social side here?

  8. Wimob Guy

    October 8, 2008 at 3:00 am

    We are seeing a lot of activity and more and more new use-cases for QR codes. If you have website and want to offer QR codes for your mobile audience, have a look at wimob.com. Love to hear ways of how this could be applied and useful for real estate professionals.

  9. Missy Caulk

    October 8, 2008 at 1:25 pm

    Benn, supra is about to release the blue tooth for blackberry, we are beta testing in Ann Arbor.

    Lani, off to see if my BB8830 works, I can see this would be helpful at conferences.

  10. Marissa Louie

    October 24, 2008 at 1:20 am

    Hi Lani,

    Mike Mueller mentioned to me about your QR post tonight at the Real Estate 2.0 Demo Pit. Cool stuff I’d love to look into (can’t wait to test it out on my Google Android G1 phone)

    Marissa Louie
    @malouie

  11. Mike Mueller

    October 24, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    Marissa – When you do get your G1 here’s the link to Google’s QR reader https://code.google.com/p/zxing/wiki/GetTheReader

  12. Rex Winters

    November 13, 2008 at 9:19 am

    have had a lot of success with neoreader reading these codes… iphone has had it as an application download for a while.
    Custom Fit Realty in WI is now using it, and looks aggressive.
    they call it their ‘neo sign’.

    will be looking into this further.

  13. Ted Mackel

    March 20, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Lani I am not sure how I missed this post, but the QR thing is very cool. I loaded Optiscan on my iPhone. New hobby is to find QR codes.

  14. John

    April 2, 2009 at 9:25 am

    I been using https://www.beqrious.com/ to generate my QR codes, its been great they even have a function where you can upload a logo to the center or the QR code.

  15. 1capecoral

    December 12, 2009 at 11:26 am

    Very interesting stuff. Using this technology for the Real Estate field is definitely a plus. Just think about to place an URL on a yard sign. This is a nice idea πŸ™‚

  16. Fred Romano

    August 7, 2010 at 7:28 am

    Interesting stuff Lani. Im a tech guy OK, but this seems a bit strange and wacky for real estate purposes. IMO I don’t see this being useful sorry.

    • Lani Rosales

      August 7, 2010 at 7:59 am

      This article was published in 2008 and since then, you can see QR codes on yard signs in Austin (granted, we’re a tech city) and on business cards. It’s not on mine, simply due to aesthetics, but it’s not *that* far out that it hasn’t been adopted in the last few years in the industry. It’s just a self generated, universal bar code. Will it be the universal norm some day? Probably not, but a growing segment understands what it is and is interested in using it.

  17. mike

    August 7, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Lani Rocks!

    • Lani Rosales

      August 7, 2010 at 12:39 pm

      Thanks Mike, I’ll TAKE it! πŸ˜‰

      PS: Rosie and QR codes rock more πŸ™‚

  18. Dave Lopez

    August 7, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    Of the four sizes to pick which one do you recommend? Thx.

    • Lani Rosales

      August 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm

      It depends on what you’re using it for. Signs, I would suggest XL. Business cards, Small. Make sense? πŸ™‚

  19. georgeoneill

    August 7, 2010 at 9:10 pm

    We put a QR code on every For Sale sign. I’ve seen a flyer for Swiss Chalet and some billboards (the famous one being for CK Jeans in NYC) begin using them too. They’re big in Japan but it’s only a matter of time until they gain more traction in North America.

  20. LesleyLambert

    August 9, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    I started using QR Codes on my yard signs, postcards and will be adding it to the back of my business cards the next print run. While I know it isn’t widely used technology YET, I feel it will be more mainstream in the near future and I want to be there first. For more details on how I am using it you can see my post blog.tqiconsulting.com/?p=92 which was inspired by Lani’s 2008 article!

  21. Nick Nymark

    August 12, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    Great Post! Interesting Article.

  22. Denise Hamlin

    October 26, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Thank you Lani. I have been ignoring QR codes for the very same reason you mentioned – I was intimidated by them. It seemed like Greek to me… Yours is the first article I have read that has made sense to me. Thanks again – I feel so much better now that I know what all the fuss is about.:-)

    • Lani Rosales

      October 26, 2010 at 1:17 am

      Wow, what a compliment, thanks Denise! I look forward to learning how you use them! πŸ™‚

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