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Getting started using QR codes

Whether you own a small business or are at the helm of a conglomerate, tracking inventory should rank high in your priority list. Asset tracking provides visibility into asset usage and other patterns, helping asset managers plan for the future while keeping an eye on the present. Earlier, barcodes were used extensively by businesses for asset tracking. With time, however, thanks to improvement in mobile technology, QR codes are fast becoming the preferred choice of businesses for asset tracking.

Understanding QR codes 

Also known as matrix barcodes and 2D barcodes, QR codes or Quick Response codes were first used in Japan in the automotive industry. QR codes, just like barcodes, contain information related to the item they are used for. That said, QR codes have a superior storage capacity than UPC barcodes. An average QR code can store up to 406 bytes of data, which is enough to redirect you to a website or a music video (and open it). Thanks to their design, QR codes are easily scannable and readable.

A typical QR code consists of black squares arranged against a white background. Data is present in both the horizontal and vertical components of the image. QR codes can encode different types of information, including URLs, text, virtual business cards, SMS messages, and e-mails.

How to scan a QR code 

Scanning a QR code is as easy as 1,2,3. Thanks to the improvement in the quality of smartphone cameras, most mobile devices can scan QR codes. To scan a QR code, all you need to do is follow the below easy steps:

Download a QR code reader app from Play store or the App Store (for Apple users).

After downloading the app, open it, and position the camera in such a way that the QR code fits in the frame.

The scanner will take a few seconds to read the code. Once the scanner successfully reads the code, a popup containing the URL will appear on the screen.

Tap on OK to visit the website.

Generating a QR code 

Generating a QR code is just as easy as scanning one. After you have decided the type of information you want to encode, visit a QR code generator website. Once you are on a QR Code generator website, you can select and generate the type of QR code that best meets your requirements.

Different types of QR codes

Depending on the purpose that they are expected to serve, QR codes can be classified into the following types:

Websites

These are the most popular type of QR codes. These QR codes are created to direct the user to a website. Once on the website, the user will be exposed to the content uploaded to the site.

Contact information 

These QR codes contain contact information such as your name, company details, address, and email. Once scanned, these details are automatically stored on the phone. They are also known as virtual business cards.

Wireless network 

These QR codes contain credentials related to a wireless network. Once the user scans the code, their smartphone is automatically connected to the network.

Email 

An email QR code contains an email with a recipient, a message, and a subject. Once the user scans the QR code, these details are automatically saved to their mobile device. To share the email, all the user needs to do is tap the send button.

Calendar event 

These QR codes include details related to an event. Once a user scans this QR code, the details are automatically added to their calendar with a reminder.

Plain text

Simplest of all QR codes, plain text includes an encoded plain text. After the user scans the QR code, a raw text is displayed on their screen. The user can write anything on the plain text.

SMS

Users scanning these QR codes receive a text message with a predetermined recipient. Once they scan the QR code, the user can send it to the intended recipient.

Phone number 

When a person scans a phone number QR code, a call is automatically started to the embedded phone number.

Dynamic QR codes 

Information contained in dynamic QR codes can be edited. Dynamic QR codes include embedded analytics and password protection, enabling the admins to track the number of times they are scanned. These codes often include device-based redirection features that enable them to recognize a device that is being used and then redirects the user to the appropriate app store. If, for instance, the user is using an Android device, they will be redirected to Google Play.

Tips on implementing QR codes 

Be careful with the placement 

Make sure your QR code is visible from every angle. To achieve this objective, place your QR codes above the fold. Never place a QR code close to the edges or crease.

Include a quiet zone 

A quiet zone is free of all markings. Every QR code must have a quiet zone. The quiet zone of your QR code must be equal to the width of at least two and up to four modules around the sides of the QR code.

Use colors 

Many people wrongly believe that QR codes necessarily have to be black and white. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is perfectly alright to include colors in your QR code. Many experts encourage the use of colors to ensure the QR code generates interest, giving people an extra reason to scan.

When using two colors, make sure to keep a contrast of 55 percent between them. If you want to use any shade of red, opt for a light-colored background. For shades of blue, a dark-colored background should do the trick.

Some mistakes to avoid when using QR codes 

Considering QR codes as a one-dimensional tool.

Failing to use a strong call to action.

Putting QR codes in places such as urinals where they are less likely to be scanned.

Not providing the target audience any incentive to scan the code.

Using extremely long URLs.

Starting to use QR codes without testing them.

Inappropriate placement: Placing QR codes too high or too low, unknowingly discouraging users from scanning them. 

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