What is a QR code?

QR Codes or Quick Response Codes are two dimensional barcodes originally developed by a Toyota subsidiary, Denso and released in Japan in 1994. These codes were initially used for tracking vehicle parts by Denso and other manufacturers; they now of course have a much broader use.

Who uses QR codes?

A QR code is important as it provides a convenient way to share product and contact details from anywhere to anyone with the technology.

As mentioned these were originally developed for use in the motor industry in which they are still used, however with the advent of the Smartphone the companies and industries using QR codes has snowballed.

Many of the world’s largest companies and organisations now heavily rely on QR codes for product information storage and promotional activity. The NHS for instance uses them in a variety of ways, including on medication and patient files and wrist bands. Below are some of the well known advocates of the QR code.


Many electronic manufacturers provide barcodes on products so that customers can quickly access product and support contact details, this will become the norm for many other products in the near future.

What can QR codes be used for?

They are already used on everything from store windows, business cards, flyers, billboards, magazine/newspaper advertisements, for sale signs and brochures to clothing, television advertising, book covers, posters, invites, coupons, name tags, the list goes on and on.

QR codes are ideal for specific promotions and to generally tell people about your

Product details, such as creation date, SCU code, name, part number etc
Contact details, including email addresses and phone numbers
Event details – dates, location and description
Direct links to promotions and coupons on your website

Some examples of content?

The code can be used to hold many types of information and contact details including

Phone numbers
Email address links
Specific URL information such as a business website links, social media, YouTube video tutorial or advert etc
Product information or as in the case of the NHS patient details

 URL link barcode  Phone link barcode  10% off barcode
 Example of URL barcode  Example of phone number barcode  Example of textual information barcode

What is the future for QR codes?

QR codes are already a normal element of life in Japan, Korea, China and growing fast elsewhere in the world.

At present over a 1/3 of all UK adults own a Smartphone, the percentage is closer to 3/4 for young adults under 30.

In the US there were over 100 million users in 2011. And these numbers are rising every minute of every day as the technology becomes cheaper and more necessary.

So the future is bright, to steal a tag line from a colourful mobile phone provider, no forward thinking business can afford to be left behind.