What are dynamic QR codes?
QR codes are a two-dimensional barcode. Because it can display information both vertically and horizontally, it's able to transfer a hundred times more data than the traditional barcode. In addition to the amount of information it a QR can hold, another major benefit they offer is that they can be scanned even if damaged or dirty.
There are two types of QR codes: static and dynamic. Static QR codes are generally assigned to one address that doesn’t change. Dynamic QR codes allow code owners to change the destination address of the code (without the need to reprint it) to accommodate new campaigns, websites and more. Basically any context where on-the-go adjustability is beneficial, dynamic QR is a strong option.
Outside of changing URL destinations, dynamic QR codes provide analytics on the number of scans for each code and reduce paper waste by eliminating the need to reprint codes each time a URL changes.
Lastly, dynamic QR codes can accommodate many different URLs per QR code, creating the ability to localise content for different geographies or customize it for specific personas. Dynamic QR codes are more efficient for organisations that frequently need to change messaging or create new campaigns.
How do consumers use them?
QR codes got their start in the automotive industry to track parts, but their usage has greatly evolved over the years. Consumers use QR codes to capture information about a product or company or communicate information back to an organisation.
New uses for QR codes continue to arise every day, with businesses offering discounts, promotions, free downloads and more through the simple scan of a code. Marathon runners scan QR codes for race results. Shoppers scan QR codes for product discounts and promotions. Air travelers use QR codes instead of paper boarding passes. No matter the product or service, consumers are embracing the simplicity and convenience of QR codes.
As I mentioned in the blog post New EU Regulations Require QR Codes on Medicinal Packaging, QR codes have become common in especially South Korea and China in the place of point-of-sale terminals. The fintech companies Tencent and Alipay have essentially taken over the Chinese mobile-pay app market.
Business applications for QR codes
Dynamic QR codes provide a simple outlet for businesses to share information with prospects and customers. From traditional marketing content to instruction manuals or procedural documents, QR codes make the sharing of information fast and seamless.
For organisations with user communities, QR codes are a simple way to link back to forums, pages, groups, and social media accounts. It quickly directs users to the appropriate page or forum and enables self-service for customers who need support or simply want to connect with other users.
In complicated industries such as logistics, QR codes can track information and supplies throughout all steps in the supply chain process. By communicating information to both supplier and customer through a dynamic QR code, logistics organisations become more efficient, more transparent and better able to pinpoint areas for process improvement.
Alipay's service has reached Finland as well as part of a partnership with ePassi. With something like 550,000 Chinese tourists visiting Finland in 2017, Finnish merchants saw a 300% increase in business with Chinese tourists. A likely reason to this is that mobile-pay apps have become almost ubiquitous in China. From the merchant's perspective, the benefit is that only a QR code on a display is needed, which has allowed for financial savings by removing the need for expensive payment terminals. Moreover, the solution is likely to fit self-service shopping excellently.
QR codes have started to become similarly more prevalent in the European Union as well. Many local banks have mobile pay apps that function within a certain city or country, but if a person travels very far outside of those places, the EU mobile pay apps become less useful. Since Alipay managed to extended their reach considerably already by bringing the app to Finland, a multilingual interface would probably boost the app's use even more. And of course, a similar solution by a European company might see popularity as well!
How do QR codes store data?
QR codes are made up of checkered pixel patterns that may appear to be randomly placed at first glance. They are actually structured thoughtfully, however, with specific alignment, positioning and timing indicators. Thanks to this structure, QR codes can store multiple types of data. Each independent section within the grid is responsible for capturing a subset of information, making it simple for code owners to encode and decode information easily. In the same way, encryption is possible to make sure that only the code owner can decode the information.
Data points that may be incorporated into QR codes include contact information, URLs, geo-location, and plain text. The flexibility of dynamic QR codes makes them ideal for logistics organisations who work with many different vendors and customers. (Shameless self-promotion here:) For instance, Logmore QR data loggers generate a URL with the measurement data hidden within it in an encrypted form, and create a QR code on their screen based on that URL. For an easy demonstration, try scanning the QR code on the frontpage. Depending on your scanner and phone, it may show you the exact link before taking you to our Logmore cloud.
Dynamic QR codes are an effective way to communicate and customize information. Before creating a code, organisations must ensure that the process will add value to the user in the form of efficiency, better communication or cost savings. Like in our case, saving time and removing the need for investing on infrastructure.
Did you enjoy this post? Take a look at the previous post, New EU Regulations Require QR Codes on Medicinal Packaging, or the comparison between RFID vs QR as Data Transmission Methods.