Quick question: how can you tell when someone or something has truly gained popularity in the mind of the public? Well, one of the most obvious determining factors is whether or not they’re talking. Yes, there are multitudes of individuals chatting, blogging, of course, using QR codes…so, plenty of evidence there. Likewise, there are a great number of individuals and businesses who are already using QR codes to facilitate transactions or distribute information as well.
However, it could be said that the true mark of increasing popularity is the presence of detractors and critics. Why would this be the case, you ask? Well, think about it…any time there is a build-up of individuals who are supporting something; they eventually come face to face with those who completely disagree. Call it a fundamental law of human nature, or perhaps a physical representation of Newton’s Third Law (for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction). You can label the phenomenon whatever you like, but the existence of those who are railing against something is usually a clear indication that something is really gaining ground in the mind of the public.
To get right to the point, QR codes and the general use of them must be gaining quite a bit of ground, because for every 5-10 people that like the technology, you’ll encounter 1 or 2 that are vehemently opposed to its general use. First off, let’s explore the positive aspects of QR codes:
- Perfect for mobile purchases
- Works well in most establishments
- Can be used to enhance advertising
- Works well for niche advertising schemes
- Meshes with social media
- Allows businesses to receive instant feedback
- Provides additional information to the consumer at the point-of-sale
- …and many others…
Google recently bought ‘PunchD’ (a QR code company) as well, and are planning on increasing their general use of QR codes. The same goes for Apple; they are already using the technology. Two of the world’s largest and most important companies are exploring the use of QR codes – if this is not a clear signal, what is?
Additionally, there are a number of great sites like http://qrcode.kaywa.com/, which allow individuals or businesses to create their own QR codes for private or commercial use. Simply put, people and organizations are embracing this technology and finding new ways to apply it.
However, for all the great things you can do with QR codes, there are those who seem to be vehemently opposed to the use of them. Some tech bloggers actually seem to be very annoyed at simply encountering them on the street; seeing them posted on billboards appears to genuinely anger them. One of the biggest criticisms of QR codes is that some people claim that a great number of people don’t know how to use them. While this might be true among small segments and age groups, certainly no one is taking these notions seriously. Let’s be honest, you won’t see hundreds or thousands of examples of something plastered everywhere if people don’t know how to use it. Why are the biggest companies in the world investing in QR codes? Because the use of them has skyrocketed, apparently…seems like common sense. Likewise, it’s not as if these companies are pushing for the use of QR codes because they like the concept or design, they’re doing it because it allows them to transfer more pin-pointed information to and from consumers.
One of the biggest supposed flaws that detractors often hype up is QR code security. While it’s true that malicious thieves can create bogus QR codes to try and steal information from you, the exact same thing could just as easily be said about any other form of payment or information scanning (accumulation). For example, can’t a criminal just snatch your dollars right out of your hand, or make a carbon copy of your credit card while you’re not looking? Moreover, don’t hackers use viruses to data mine for personal information? Setting up the notion that QR codes are somehow even more dangerous than other forms of interaction is not only misinformed, it’s a complete fallacy. If you want to remain safe, remember to only scan QR codes from major retailers, trusted sources and if you have doubts about authenticity, make sure that someone hasn’t pasted over a QR code with their own (the fingernail test).
The use of QR codes is steadily rising and expanding in different directions. It’s not just the large corporations that are using them either, individuals and small businesses are finding new ways to engage potential customers with them as well. In short, they’re a quick, convenient way to take advantage of the prevalence of smartphones that opens the door for creative sales and marketing. Expect to see even more of them popping up on signs, shops and street corners near you.