A QR-Code, long form „Quick Response Code„, is a two-dimensional code in which several thousand characters can be encoded. Basically, the QR-Code consists of black and white dots. These dots form a square, which contains three more squares in the top and bottom left corners. These serve as orientation points for the scanner. The remaining pattern of the code contains the stored information. If the code is scanned, for example with an app or the camera of a mobile phone, the information deposited by the creator is displayed. Generated are those through the help of a QR-Code Generator.
The QR-Code is already on the market for a few years and by now, there is a large number of providers who distribute them in various forms. But originally the QR-Code has been developed in 1994 by the company „Denso Wave„. This is a Japanese subcompany of Toyota. The reason for the development at that time was the need for a way to improve the logistics of the car manufacturer: they needed a simple and inexpensive method for individual labelling of car parts. In the meantime, Denso Wave holds several patents on the basic and further developments of the QR-Code, which means that other providers must always refer to them when using this technology.
QR-Code Generators are usually websites run by companies. On these sites, users can generate, edit and download QR-Codes, usually all on their own. Some providers require a registration for this. Depending on whether a static or dynamic QR-Code shall be created, the user may then also incur costs.
All you must do is to open the device’s camera and point it at a QR-Code. A link is then shown on the display, which opens the information stored in the QR-Code if you click on it. If the device does not have this function, scanner apps can be downloaded from the app store. Alternatively, this is also possible without an app installation: with the scan function on our website, the desired QR-Code can be read in seconds.
Currently there are 5 different possibilities with QR, what can be displayed through the QR-Code.
Further functions are already in progress. Suggestions and ideas are welcome to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With most static QR-Codes there is no limited runtime and they can be used permanently free of charge. Dynamic QR-Codes, on the other hand, usually have time restrictions on usability. First, there is typically a free trial period. If the QR-Code should be used after that, a premium version with costs usually has to be booked to prevent deactivation. These are also rarely one-time payments. With a dynamic QR-Code, you should expect to have to pay fees for use on an annual/monthly basis. If no payment is made, the QR-Code will expire and become deactivated.
When talking about QR-Codes, one usually distinguishes between two types: the static QR-Codes and the dynamic QR-Codes.
From the exterior, both look the same: a square consisting of many small white and black dots. The difference is on the inside of the code: once a static QR-Code has been created, it can no longer be modified. This means that if, for example, the link stored in the code changes, the QR-Code becomes useless. With dynamic QR-Codes it is totally different: here the deposited information can be updated at any time. No matter whether a link, a file, a business card or other data has been stored: simply remove the old information, add the new and you’re done! The same QR-Code now displays the new content. This is especially useful if the QR-Code has already been printed on promotional materials or similiar because they don’t have to be produced again.
Changing the defined destination or the stored information of the QR-Code is only possible if it is a dynamic QR-Code. If this is the case, you must log in to the website of the operator where you originally generated the code. There will be some kind of an overview page, where all your QR-Codes are listed. For QR, this overview is called „Dashboard“, for example. There are buttons next to the individual codes, which lead to the editing area. There you can see which information is currently linked, as an example we will take a website link. You can simply remove it from the field and replace it with a new link. As soon as you click on save, the QR-Code is updated and leads to the new information.
If the QR-Code does not work, there are two possibilities whereby this can become noticeable.
The QR-Code can be scanned, but it opens the wrong page. In other words, the information that was originally stored is not being displayed.
In that situation, it is probably because the code is no longer active. This is the case, for example, with a dynamic QR-Code, when either the free trial period or the previously paid period has expired. This can be easily fixed by logging in to the website where the QR-Code was created and buying an extension of validity there.
The QR-Code cannot be scanned at all, it is not recognized as such by the device. In this case, you should first check whether the device is capable of scanning a QR-Code at all. If this has been ensured and the code still cannot be scanned, it must be due to the graphics. When printing, always make sure that there is enough color contrast between the background and the actual QR-Code. In addition, the graphic must not be too unsharp or blurry. Also, the size should not be too small. Once these errors have been corrected, it should be possible to read the QR-Code again.
If none of the suggestions have helped, it is best to contact the support of the service where the QR-Code has been generated. They can usually identify where the error is in a short time.
On some websites, static QR-Codes can be created for free and have an unlimited duration. However, if a dynamic QR-Code shall be created, costs have to be expected. Although there is usually a free trial version in which the service can be tested for a few days or weeks, a payment must then be made in order to continue using the QR-Code. The prices here vary from provider to provider and are often based on the number of QR-Codes that should remain active. In addition, these are usually not one-time payments, but must be renewed monthly or annually to avoid a deactivation.
QR-Codes are mainly used by companies. These use it mainly in marketing: this way, the customer can be provided with further information in a cost-effective and space-saving way or the journey to the website, a YouTube video or a social media profile can be shortened. It is also a popular way in the warehousing business to quickly & easily label products and product parts individually. But it’s not just companies, some private persons are now also using QR-Codes: for example, to simplify Wifi access. Concrete usage and implementation examples of QR-Codes will be presented in the next subsections of this category.
Many companies (or also private people) use QR-Codes to have them printed on their print materials (e.g. flyers, posters or business cards) in order to make information more easily accessible for their customers. But there are some important points to remember when printing QR-Codes:
As a general tip, it can be said that a test print should first be made for all materials before starting large-scale production. This way, it can be tested whether the QR-Code works and, if necessary, the error can be corrected. If all these points were observed and the QR-Code still cannot be scanned, it is best to contact the support of the QR-Code-Generator that is being used and ask for advice.
On QR, the QR-Codes can currently be downloaded in two different formats: as a png or svg file. Both are common formats that are very well suited for high-resolution print files, so that nothing stands in the way of high-quality prints of the QR-Codes on advertising materials, for example.
In principle, QR-Codes are not dangerous to begin with. However, as with almost everything, there are some people who misuse this technology to harm consumers. What potential risks are there when using a QR-Code?
However, you do not have to be afraid as soon as you scan a QR-Code. There are several ways to detect such suspicious codes and avoid the dangers.
The first security measure has already been implemented by smartphone manufacturers a few years ago. Whereas the stored link was called up immediately when the code was scanned in the past, the deposited domain is now first displayed on the camera screen. This can already indicate whether it is the original website or if the link looks suspicious. If the link does not appear to be trustworthy, simply close the camera again and you will not even access the dangerous website.
And even if you end up on a malicious page: as long as you do not interact with the page and do not enter any data, nothing can happen. So first check if the site looks trustworthy, if there is an imprint and if there are no warning messages from the browser. If everything looks good, the website can be used without any concerns.
To further increase security, multifactor authentication should always be used. This reduces the phishing potential enormously.
The clear answer is no. QR-Codes make everyday life easier in many ways, as they enable a lot of information to be provided inexpensively and in a space-saving manner. The danger of ending up on shady websites does not only exist with QR-Codes, but with all links in the web.
So, instead of giving up a useful utensil, it is better to take a closer look at the website before interacting with it or providing sensitive data. Also, QR-Codes where the origin is known are generally more trustworthy than those you come across by coincidence.