QR stands for Quick Response. It was originally developed by Denso-Wave, part of Toyota, back in 1994. Although it was designed for tracking car parts, it has since taken on other applications.

QR code has also become known as Mobile Tagging because the camera in a phone can be used to read the code and take you to a URL with more detailed information. There often isn’t enough time to take down a URL let alone remember it and so QR Codes are perfect for bookmarking on the go.

The technology has been embraced in Japan and Korea, appearing on street signs and even billboards. In 2008 Harrods ran print ads with QR Codes, with the iPhone having only been released in 2007, but it would seem that they were ahead of their time for the UK market.

It is only recently with the increase in the quality of camera phone images and the coverage of wifi network access that mobiles have been able to deliver information at a quality and speed that didn’t make your blood boil with impatience.

Time at a premium, as ever, people are becoming more and more reliant on electrical devices for their short-term memory. As we rely on our mobiles to take notes, dates or times, it seems only natural that we would start using QR codes not only to remember, but to bookmark information for later consumption.

Much like Harrods did in 2008, the fashion industry is already trying to take full advantage of this technology with Conde Nast fashion brands using Microsoft Tags and Clavin Klein made the bold move of covering their New York billboards with QR codes. Closer to home, Tesco has realised that consumers are more ready than ever to embrace QR with a recent campaign which published results in real time.

In 2009, Google launched QR images in conjunction with Local Business; however, it failed to get the traction it needed. Having said that, earlier this year Microsoft released it’s first Google Android mobile app, called Tag, which was QR based. With Blackberrys now being produced with QR readers as standard there is a sense that the UK market is in a better position than it has ever been to embrace the benefits of QR technology.

There is so much potential for the application of QR, here are just a few ideas:

  • Business Cards
  • Print Media to drive consumers online
  • Billboards
  • Products (from clothes tags to Cups)