QR Codes

QR Codes have been with us for as long as there has been a commercial Internet. They were invented in 1994 in Japan for use in the automotive industry. QR stands for “quick response” and a QR code is a barcode that can contain a lot of data and be read very quickly.

But QR codes kind of languished over the last twenty-five years, certainly in the US. They seem to be much more popular in Asia.

I think that all changed during the pandemic. In an era when stores and restaurants wanted to maintain as much social distance as possible, I saw QR codes popping up everywhere. Most of us are now very proficient scanning a QR code on our phone and getting taken to a web page.

I spent some time this morning setting up Nest Protect smoke alarms in our home. The setup process is very slick. You scan the QR code on the back of the smoke alarm and the app does the rest of the work. No more manually typing in MAC addresses or some such thing.

Now that we are all much more comfortable with QR codes, we will see them being used for more and more things. They are a very powerful way to quickly transfer information between a physical object and a phone.