QR Codes vs Barcodes

A robot manufacturing company called Denso Wave made history in 1994, even if their new technology had nothing to do with robots and would take another decade and a half to catch on. They began using QR codes and in no time the technology was all over the car industry. This all happened in Japan, and the Japanese were all too happy to keep the information to themselves, seeing the value in it before any other nation did. The Japanese innovators of QR code technology saw that these new codes could carry much more information than traditional barcodes, as QR codes can carry information horizontally and vertically. Furthermore, they saw a convenience in QR codes that was not available with traditional barcodes.

The convenience to be found in the use of QR codes over barcodes would not be realized for some time however, as this convenience is centered around the fact that there is no special equipment needed to read QR codes other than a smart phone, which about 1 of 2 adults already owns in America. This means that, whereas barcode scanners have typically been expensive and impractical for the consumer to own, now QR codes will make transferring information to the consumer easy and inexpensive.

Not only are QR code readers relatively inexpensive (adding no cost to the price of the smart phone) but actually producing them is entirely free. This is not the case for barcodes, and therefore there is thought that companies may switch to a modified version of the QR code for their merchandising needs, though this has yet to happen. 

At present, the best way retail industries are using QR codes are is a way for the company to interact with their consumer base at a personal level. They are able to do this in two ways: adding QR codes to their products, and promoting their sales through QR codes. The effect of the former is that the customer is able to gain information about a product in a quick convenient way. This information keeps the retailer accountable because the consumer will be able to spot a product which is not of a high quality. Also, it can help the company look better in the eyes of the customer if they carry products which display information reflecting their high quality.

The ways in which QR codes and barcodes differ are striking, so much so that it is difficult to consider them the same type of technology. With barcodes being outdated to a greater degree every day, the day may soon come when people they are not in use at all.

The History of Barcodes

by Michael Costa