By the 1960s, the number of products for sale in Japanese supermarkets had increased exponentially. Japan was in full swing, the economy allowed spending more than ever and supermarkets offered more options for it. There were only a few people who were not satisfied with this situation: the supermarket cashiers. For them, the consumer boom was a nightmare, because they had to Norway Mobile Database enter prices into calculators by hand. That was when barcodes were born, invented within the Denso Wave Incorporated company.
The problem had been fixed, although the possible combinations for the barcodes were limited. The passage of time helped them create a product that beat the previous one. Designed in 1994 by Masahiro Hara and his team (and in the same Japanese company), the QR code was born. These new codes included much more information than barcodes and were much more effective in their use, since they were read 10 times faster than the other codes.
The appeal for brands seemed obvious. They were simpler to use (no matter in which position they are read, they will always be read), faster to read and added many more layers of information that allowed to add much more data than the simple price of the product. In addition, QR codes made it possible to go much further than barcodes had.
They did not have to be limited to the packaging of a product and by knowing its price, they could reach the end user. Anyone with a mobile phone with a camera and an app to decipher the code (an app that often comes from the factory on the smartphone itself), could point, scan and access the information. In this way, QR codes became an interesting communication tool and a – potentially – powerful marketing solution. You just had to put the image in front of the consumer’s eyes so that they could access much more information. And that information, on the other hand, would be directed by the brand itself. Were QR codes the future renovator?
Nothing better than opening the fridge to see if the prediction came true. All products have an ‘always’ barcode (some, like Feiraco’s milk, with a more or less creative design, with a barcode that evokes the udder of a cow) and very few incorporate a QR code. Only a Don Simon juice and a box of some Hornimans infusions carry a QR code, although until the consumer opens the refrigerator and does an active search for codes they may not know they are there. On both occasions, the codes lead to the companies’ website. The juice leads to a few corporate news and the infusion to one with more information on the product range.
Supermarket cashiers continue to use barcodes. Consumers continue more or less to ignore them. QR codes, however, have been incorporated into quite a few fields. They are used by the airlines or Renfe in their tickets, the parcel and ecommerce companies in their packages and some clothing brands for their labels. In the case of the occasional brand that is starting in the latter sector, such as Baena, it is a way of giving added value.
But, and although QR codes have been incorporated into a few areas, there are many who have predicted their imminent death in the near future more or less. QR codes have not covered all the multiple possibilities that it was thought they could occupy and their use is not recurrent among the end user. Is the future of the QR code the disappearance or will it manage to stay more or less permanently, like its father the barcode (to whom the comfort and the optimal functioning of the technology have prolonged his existence)?
Ten years of life
The latest forecasts do not come from just any source. It is the father of QR codes himself who alerts of his limited future life. Masahiro Hara has just received the European Inventor Award 2014 and has just put an expiration date on the tool. “To tell you the truth, they will last about 10 more years,” he confessed to the Telegraph , before collecting his award. Hara believes that improved image recognition processes will use the product’s own shape in the future to find out exactly what it is. That is, the products will be recognized for what they are without any code having to tell their identity.
The QR code already has many potential alternatives and some of them are much more aimed at meeting specific objectives, such as being more effective in marketing campaigns. There are, for example, the Snap Tag, which adds a layer of information to the brand logo and can be interpreted by the consumer in the same way as a QR code (that is, you just have to point, photograph and access the Brother Cell Phone List information). There are also other solutions that simply use the camera to give more data: you just have to point and the smartphone (via app) will recognize what you are seeing and add things (including a link to buy or a link to a YouTube video … which can always be the ad that the brand prefers). It happens with Clickable Paper.