Whether you love, hate, or are largely indifferent to QR codes, one thing is becoming quite clear – they’re becoming increasingly visible in all levels of our global society.  Originally developed as part of a better system for tracking automobiles during manufacture, QR codes have since then been integrated nearly everywhere you can imagine.  Simply put, they’re extremely convenient and allow people with smart phones (and other devices) to quickly queue up specific information about anything.

By the same token, these handy 3D bar-codes allow businesses to specifically target information directly to consumers in a way that was previously unthinkable.  For example, a quick snapshot of a QR code can direct a potential customer to a website, send them a redeemable coupon, or even grant them access to “inside information”.  However, the actual uses for QR code technology in 2012 up until now (early 2013) has exploded in ways that virtually no one could have predicted.

According to a piece written by Michael Levanduski of performinsider.com; ScanLife, who is one of the true heavyweights in the QR world, had this to say:

“Through a well designed infographic, ScanLife reveals that results went up from 24 scans per minute in Q2 of 2011 to 120 scans per minute in Q2 of 2012. They stated that there were 4 million new people using ScanLife to scan QR codes in Q2, however there were a total of 5.3 million scans for the month of June alone. That’s the highest number of scans ever reported for a single month, which shows that QR codes seem to be making a substantial comeback.”

Clearly, this indicates that (despite what the naysayers keep on insisting) the overall use of QR codes is in fact, steadily increasing.  To get a better handle on why this might be the case, let’s examine some of the emerging uses for the technology itself.

Take some of the following real-life examples into consideration:

At Arpoador (a land mass that divides the Ipanema and Copacabana beaches) you’ll find a QR code that has been inlaid into the sidewalk.  What’s the purpose of this scannable code, you ask?  Well, tourists who snap a shot of it with their smart phones will instantly gain access to a Multi-language site that contains tourist hot spots, maps as well as interesting tidbits such as historical facts. Naturally, this is just the first example of such an attempt to integrate QR code technology into the functional landscape; they have plans to add at least 30 more installments at 30 or more locations.   Needless to say, this is a brilliant use for the technology and has the potential to revolutionize and simply international tourism.

Mobile Payments and Instant Gift Cards
Do you find that credit / debit cards are somewhat tedious and / or even dangerous to carry around with you?  Wouldn’t it be much simpler if you could use the built-in capabilities of your smart phone to make payments and send money instead?  Well, now you can thanks to a company called Square Wallet.  In essence, their downloadable app allows you to use QR codes to pay for items on the go and/or send stylish and customizable gift cards to anyone.

Business Cards
In the world of business, first impressions are very important, and as such, being able to absolutely “floor” a potential client, customer or employer is very important.  Well, what better place to start than with one’s business card, eh?  Many intrepid individuals have now taken to placing QR codes directly on their business cards.  The benefit here is that you can instantly direct someone to some specific site, information database, and film (or media presentation).  For example, if you were a musician or band, the QR code on your business card could be used to direct a booking agent or fan to a specific song or YouTube performance video.

The Food and Dining Industry
What if you could instantly trace the origins of the fish or vegetables that comprises your dinner (with your smart phone)?  In short, this is exactly what some companies are racing to develop right now, even as you read this.  In essence, diners would be able to trace the very route that their fish took from where it was caught straight to their table.  If that wasn’t enough, a German company called “Qkies” is taking the concept one step further and actually placing QR codes directly onto food.  Currently, they’re using the approach to embed personalized messages (in QR code format) for specialized events, but it’s pretty clear that there are multiple uses for such a concept.

Perhaps one of the most brilliant uses for QR codes comes from Wikipedia.  Quite simply they’ve established “QRpedia”, which is a mobile web system that uses QR codes to transport Wiki articles to specific users.  This is a great way for institutions like universities, museums, etc…to quickly allow students or visitors to access any relevant articles that exist in the Wikipedia database.

What does it all mean!?
If you’re an IT professional or someone employed (or merely interested) in a tech-related field, this is clear evidence that people are going to need individuals with experience in utilizing QR code technologies.  In other words, if you take the time to complete a certification program in this field, many future employment opportunities will likely open up to you (in ways you never could have anticipated).  After all, we’re talking about a type of technology here that is (arguably) one of the most versatile and easy to grasp.  Rest assured, businesses will always be on the lookout for specialists who know how to properly implement QR code based sales, marketing and information distribution strategies.

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