First Business

December 20, 2010

Quick Response (QR) Codes

Visitors to FaceBooth Fox Cities in September saw an unusual sight in each exhibitor’s displays.

At the back of each display was a black-and-white grid that looked like a crossword puzzle, or an elementary school maze worksheet.

Hold up a smartphone with the right software, however, and the mobile device can make a phone call or go to a web site.

Quick Response codes QR for short have been popular in Japan for about a decade, but are now appearing in this country. They are similar to bar codes or micr codes, but being two-dimensional can include more information.

"Signs and graphics work for you 24/7, even when you aren’t there,†says Larry Obermann, owner of Fastsigns in Green Bay. "They tell people who you are and what you do now, with QR codes, that effort is taken even further.

"There are many people who haven’t even heard of QR codes, or don’t have a smartphone themselves. Still, they want QR codes included on their signs and graphics to be able to generate interest and to reach their more tech-savvy customers potential and existing.â€

Mobile devices with QR code-scanning software can scan QR codes that tell the device what to do, including going to a Web site, making a telephone call, sending an email or text message, or encoding a Twitter tweet.

While color is used in some QR codes, most are black and white.

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