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What is a QR code?

QR code stands for "Quick Response" code. A QR code is a 2D barcode that can store alphanumeric information such as a URL. This information can be decoded and read using a QR code scanner or a QR code reader app on a smartphone. The QR code was invented by DENSO Wave, a Toyota subsidiary in 1994.

The acronym QR is short for “Quick Response”. QR Codes are also often called 2D barcodes. However, this notation is not correct, because it means “a two-dimensional code consisting of bars” although a QR code consists of pixels (so-called “modules”) instead of bars.

A QR code is a two-dimensional code (2D code, matrix code), this means it contains data not only in one dimension e.g., horizontally from left to right like the barcodes on the products in your grocery store but also in a second dimension (vertical and horizontal). As a QR Code can carry information in both the vertical and horizontal direction, it can store up to several hundred times the amount of data carried by a bar code. Over 7,000 numeric characters can be encoded in one QR Code.

The Quick Response (QR) code was developed at DENSO Corporation’s Industrial Systems Product Division (currently separated in 2001 to become DENSO WAVE Incorporated) in 1994. The code was originally developed to manage automotive component inventories in DENSO plants. Traditional bar codes were conventionally used, but as the need increased to include more information in a limited space, DENSO set up a team in 1992 to develop a new code, and in two years the QR code was developed.

Like other codes, the QR code symbol can be captured with imaging devices like a camera and then digitally processed. Software prepares the captured image data until it can be algorithmically processed according to the QR code standard so the QR code content can be read. The QR code has position detection patterns located at the three corners of the code, which enable reader equipment to quickly and accurately read the code from any direction. Since the QR code was originally developed for factory use, one of the development focuses was to create a code that could withstand stains and damage. Through this development, the code’s data can be restored even if a maximum of 30 percent of the code is damaged.

Because of the excellent error correction QR codes provide and the high memory capacity (in comparison with other bar codes), the QR code also gained traction outside the automotive industry. Modern mobile phones are powerful enough to run QR code reading software and also usually provide a camera. This combination brought up a variety of possibilities to use the QR code to easily transfer data without needing to type a URL into a mobile web browser. Therefore, a widespread use of QR codes became possible with the recent smartphone boom and the increasing spread of mobile internet.

The patent rights for the code are owned by DENSO WAVE, but the specifications and use of the code were made open and free to the public to widely expand its use in the market. The code was also approved as an ISO international standard in 2000. In Japan, where the QR code holds commanding share for two dimensional codes, it has been widely used in production and distribution management. And, since QR code reader functions were installed to cellular phones in early 2000, their usage has vastly expanded to the consumer market in areas including, advertising and marketing, business cards, ticket passes, coupons and more.

History of the QR Code. | More about QR codes can be found on Wikipedia.

Where you generate your QR codes is as important as your reason for generating them.

Delivr is one of a handful of companies worldwide licensed by DENSO.  DENSO, part of the Toyota Group, is a world leader in automatic data capture technology and the inventor of the QR Code®.  DENSO’s QR code technology is the undisputed standard in driving analog to digital engagement. Another DENSO technology, SQRC® is the worlds only ISO/IEC18004 compliant 2D barcode that can securely trigger a public and private action. Through this relationship, Delivr offers a compelling new generation of services that transform the use of the conventional QR code and takes QR codes to a higher level of intelligence, security, and customer experience.  All the resulting solutions are either patented by DENSO or proprietary to Delivr and are superior to competing products. No other self-service QR Code Generator can make these same claims, it is our unique distinction.

There are three conditions in the world of QR codes you simply can not control. You can't control which device is reading your QR code, the operating system on that device, or which QR code reader app is being used. As a DENSO partner,  Delivr upholds rarefied standards when generating ISO compliant QR codes with our QR Code Generator. Take  control over the only condition in the world of QR codes you can control - the QR code itself  by using QR codes from Delivr.

QR codes are matrix type codes developed to accomplish three primary goals:

  1. fast, muti-directional scanning
  2. achieve high capacity storage within a small area
  3. portable information at your fingertips

How do QR codes work?

QR codes can be read by the camera in most mobile phones. Once they are scanned, software deciphers the encrypted information and initiates a response. This response can involve either directing the phone to a website, providing the user with iintegrated data stored within the code or documenting an event. In any case, it eliminates the need to search for content and provides direct access to information.

What are QR codes used for?

  • Advertising
  • Competitions
  • Business cards
  • Social networking (Facebook , Twitter, etc.)
  • Branding
  • Ticketing/registration
  • Campaign tracking
  • File access
  • Statistics
  • Logistics/parts tracking
  • Marketing
  • Payment
  • Reminders/updates the possibilities are endless.

In a nutshell

  • QR codes can hold over 200 times the data of a regular bar code and have over 30 fold increase in recording density
  • 360 degree multidirectional, high speed reading - no need to align the reader to the code, simply point and scan
  • Dirt and damage resistant - data redundancy ensures that the code can be read if part of the code is missing or damaged
  • Warp resistance - code can be placed on a curved or warped surface
  • Encode different language format - supports other languages character sets such as Japanese, Chinese, etc.
  • High capacity space saving printing using less space, less ink and less intrusion for marketing space
  • Linking function - one QR code can be divided into 12 QR codes

What's next?

DENSO has recently released the Security QR code (SQRC®). Any QR code enabled device can read QR codes therefore SQRC were developed to meet the growing demands for the secure transportation of data with the product. Confidential information is code key encrypted and combined in the QR code. This means that the QR code can still be read by general readers, but the encrypted data is protected and only accessible using a special reading device with the same SQRC code key.

Not just for phones.

As the developers of QR code, DENSO data capture solutions format is best equipped to get the most out of your QR codes. They have faster, more accurate scanning rates and are known throughout the industry for their quality and durability. Ask DENSO which solution is best for your application.

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Delivr® is a MarTech platform used by thousands of businesses to drive audiences from print to digital experiences. Established in 2008, Delivr has developed software to track and visualize consumer engagement with printed media, labels and packaging. With TrueMrk®, Delivr is extending its marketing, consumer engagement and analytics platform to authenticate products and identify incidents of counterfeiting and gray market diversion.