Do QR Codes Have the Longevity They Need to Survive?

In the past we have discussed the importance of QR codes, what they are and what their primary competition is. But perhaps the most important question pertaining to quick response codes, is whether or not they have longevity with the everyday consumer.

Whenever a new technology is developed there is a honeymoon period: the period of time when consumers and manufacturers cannot get enough of said technology. QR codes have had a similar reception, especially here in the United States. Just a few years ago, they weren’t on anything. Now they are printed on music posters, food packaging, lottery tickets and more. But, is the honeymoon wearing off? According to a study by comScore, only 14 million Americans scanned QR codes in June 2011. That is less than 5 percent of the United States. Not exactly riveting numbers, considering 42 percent of all American adults own a smartphone.

What does this mean for the QR code? Is there an alternative other than NFC tags, or are their other factors resulting in the demise of the code’s usage?

As with many forms of technology, there are always security concerns. This applies to new computer operating systems, social networks, smartphones, and yes, QR codes. First, let’s consider what one of these codes looks like. It’s essentially a small box filled with smaller boxes and a little white space. These codes are literally completely unreadable by the human eye, and that’s how they were designed. It wouldn’t be any fun to scan a QR code if you could just look at it and know what your return was. But this ability to hide messages has also opened a door for those with nefarious intentions to walk in.

Because these codes are unreadable, it’s very easy for someone to embed malicious date into the code itself. Inappropriate use of QR codes has been going on for years and can be used in a variety of ways. For example, scanning an infected QR code can give someone else access to your smartphone’s contents (Internet access, contacts, GPS, camera and more). All of your phone’s data could be mined and stolen without you even noticing. Instances like this happening aren’t extremely common, but it’s something to think about next time you go to scan one of those enticing QR codes.

There seems to be an alternative to QR codes waiting in the wings, though, and it’s mobile visual search (MVS). MVS is perhaps the next wave of technology similar to the QR Code, but instead of consumers scanning a specific code, they’ll scan a product’s label. While it is still in its infancy, it looks to be much more interactive than QR codes, both for the products’ manufacturers and consumers.

What are your thoughts on QR codes, did the honeymoon fade or do they still have some life left in them? And remember, if you have questions about how QR codes can still benefit your business, don’t hesitate to contact us today!

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