There are three main zones built into each and every QR code which give the scanner vital information about how the QR code is positioned, what format of code it is, and how many modules (each black or white square is one module) the particular code contains:
The green areas contain the Format Information, telling the scanner if the code contains only numeric data, a simple web address or more complex alphanumeric and Kanji data.
Built-in error correction:
Because QR codes can contain so much data, they have been designed using the Reed-Solomon error correction algorithm. In a high level code, this means that up to 30% of the image can be altered and customised while still allowing the barcode to scan.
Concerns over QR code safety, malware and hacking:
QR codes are often used in print adverts to lead a potential customer to more info, a special offer or to receive a discount. However because they are under free licence to use and can so easily be generated by anyone with an internet connection however, scams have become more common in QR codes which are displayed in public at bus stops and on street signage. Scammers can simply print out their own code – potentially sending the victim to a link to download malware, or in one case in Russia to send a $6 sms from the phone which the code was scanned on. For this reason it is wise either to double-check that the code is displayed directly on the item where the advert appears, or to forego scanning codes which don’t appear in a large-scale print advert such as in a newspaper or magazine format. Of course if a company puts in the time and effort to have a custom QR code created you can rest assured that the code is genuine. Other concerns include codes designed to access a person’s private information and credit card details.
Why QR Codes still aren’t popular:
Because the QR codes we come across are mostly used in adverts and for marketing purposes, there is a natural reluctance in most consumers to scan them when they know full well that it will lead to them being bombarded with a full-on sales pitch! Used correctly, however, QR codes can be incredibly useful. Below is a shot from the Ding Darling National Wildlife refuge where codes can be scanned to show trail information and items of interest in the immediate vicinity of the code:
The potential value of these 2D codes cannot be denied, however public acceptance and adoption, as with any new technology, may take a very long time. How advertisers use QR codes will play a major role in either speeding this process up – by using them creatively and in a manner that genuinely enhances the customer experience, or going in the other direction and giving them a bad name they don’t deserve. Only time will tell!What are your thoughts on QR codes? Love them? Hate them? Never heard of them? Feel free to share your opinion in the comments.By Cat Robinson