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Terry Doland, Owner
QR codes are a two-dimensional (2D) graphical representation of information – often of a URL (uniform resource locator – the Internet address of a web site) but also phone numbers, e-mail addresses or other bits of data. Developed in 1994 by the Japanese manufacturer Denso-Wave, the first use of QR codes was inventory tracking of vehicle parts. Early on Denso-Wave, who holds the patent and name trademark, freely shared the code specification, allowing others to expand the use of QR codes to other applications. The specifications for QR codes were adopted as ISO standard 18004 in 2000.
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Your ability to read a QR code and thereby gain access to the information it represents depends on two things: a camera phone and a software application for it.
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2D code: a two-dimensional barcode; the dimensions are horizontal and vertical. 2D codes can store up to 7,089 characters, as contrasted with 1-dimensional barcodes that store 20 characters.
EZcode: a proprietary quick response code developed by The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich) and exclusively licensed to Scanbuy in 2006. Also known as ScanLife.
Microsoft Tag: a proprietary quick response code developed by Microsoft. Microsoft Tag can be published in a colorful format, black/white, and also in a custom format, and it provides an interface to manage all generated tags and track consumer activity.
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A QR code is a type of 2D code with a wide range of uses, including displaying text, initiating e-mail or SMS text messages, opening a browser on a mobile phone that leads to a specific web site, and track the download of an audio track or video stream. All these activities have potential applications for marketing and advertising.
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Since we first introduced QR (Quick Response) codes to our readers, their use has spread significantly, particularly among Fortune 500 companies that advertise nationally. In 2010, Calvin Klein, Chevrolet, Verizon Wireless, Heineken, Starbucks and Nike all had advertising campaigns based on QR codes. As this month’s issue title claims, QR codes are in everyone’s future.
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In October and November of 2010, the advertising firm of Austin & Williams Unplugged conducted a survey to determine how aware consumers are of QR codes. The survey was conducted using both online and offline methods and included 400 respondents. Most respondents were adults aged 25-54 living in the United States; 41% were male and 58% female.
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