Qfuse Blog - QR Code, NFC, and Mobile Marketing News

Statues 'Speak' with QR Codes

Posted on May 4th, 2021 by

Statues and monuments of notable Americans are scattered all over this country.  If you have ever visited the United States Congress and walked the storied halls, you will see hundreds of statues of famous former Americans.  Recently, there has been a movement to take down statues of those who may have a checkered or troubled past compared to what we value today.  What if these figures could speak?  What would they say?  What could we learn?  Might we learn about the time and the circumstances surrounding their actions?  Neil Orford, a former history teacher in Canada thinks QR codes should be put on statues to repurpose them into “teachable moments for future generations.”

Recently articles have shared stories about statues having QR codes added to them, providing a new dimension to the statue.  Two examples are worth noting.  At Duke University in North Carolina, a project is underway called “Statues Speak.” Elizabeth Baltes, assistant professor of visual arts at Coastal Carolina University, organized the project.  Baltes is a former Ph. D. student at Dukeand was inspired after seeing statues in London tell their stories after viewers scanned QR codes mounted on the statues.

In Charleston, S.C., as many as eight statutes and markers come to life for those viewers with smart phones. Local businessman, John Rivers, created a small group, known as the Rainbow Group, assembled private funding to also emulate London.  “We’ve got all these statues and monuments in Charleston. What if, instead of tearing things down, we expand the history and look at ways we can bring people together?” he said. “We all agreed that was a good mission, to try to expand the available history.”  Volunteers recorded stories of those depicted in the monuments and were vetted by local historians. 

References:

https://www.orangeville.com/opinion-story/8848977-put-a-qr-code-on-statues-to-repurpose-them-into-teachable-moments-for-future-generations/

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2018/03/180328-kwon-statues

https://www.postandcourier.com/news/audio-guided-smartphone-experience-gives-voice-to-charleston-s-iconic/article_5561a536-5f60-11e8-9a7b-ff7ee553f53e.html

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Have QR Codes Finally Gone Mainstream?

Posted on April 19th, 2021 by

Watching March Madness this past March, you witnessed not only a lot of great basketball, but you witnessed QR Code technology firmly showcased in pop culture, unwavering on TV screens and game coverage across the country. Sure, the common man has seen QR Codes and is aware of them, but during each game there was a reminder from the CBS family carrying the games across channels: download our CBS app using a QR Code. The code was then presented on the screen, beckoning viewers to take out their phones and utilize the code to get live stats, supplemental coverage, and behind-the-scenes reporting.  Every single game, multiple times a game: “Use this QR Code”.

Fertile Ground for Growth

QR Codes are not only back – bigger and better, if you will – but they are mainstream, and becoming increasingly utilized by the day. They are finally getting their time to shine here in the US first because they were (and are) able to provide solutions to real needs during the pandemic, and now are able to provide entertainment, insight, information, and so much more… all right from your smartphone.

Like a flower, the technology has blossomed from auto dealerships to mom-and-pop shops, CBS to your favorite diner.  Years ago, when QR Codes first made their appearance, the use case wilted – whether due to those not knowing how to cultivate, or the timing being wrong leading to a ‘dry season’. Those times are long behind us now as the environment – saturated by the pandemic and the need for contactless transactions – is absolutely perfect for QR Codes to bloom.

Improved Accessibility, Practical Technology

The growth and use of QR Codes are further fertilized by the developing technology itself – QR code readers are now universally being built into mobile device by the manufacturer, so no separate app to download.  This technology is native to a user base that, in many ways, has grown up with smartphones and QR Codes themselves – they’ve grown and utilized the internet just as the internet has simultaneously had an always improving mobile web experience. Of course there are newer, sexier technologies like NFC tags and beacons, but the QR code remains incredibly ubiquitous and practical, as it doesn’t require any special encoding or physical tags or additional devices, and can be displayed both physically on printed media, as well as television and digital media – it’s readily available from your main street general store to Fortune 500 enterprises alike.

A Better Use Case

In the early 2010s, marketers were printing QR codes on direct mailers, billboards, in-store displays, and all means of product packaging. The codes needed a real need in order to thrive, something more than a coupon or additional details – back then, there was no real or compelling reason to scan a QR Code.  So why now? Why are they becoming mainstream?  Simple: they provide answers and solutions during the pandemic, with current technology and a user base that is showing the world that QR codes are only just getting started: contactless payment, touchless shopping, digital menus, self-serve food ordering, and it doesn’t stop there.

Shows like ‘Good Morning America’ and ‘The Today Show’ display QR codes on-screen when they do their “Deals” segments to give users an easy way to transition from the program to the purchase pages for the products they review on the show. This, much like the CBS March Madness codes, make for a very simple and efficient way to tie together media and eCommerce.

Instagram launched a QR code generator that directs users and customers to a business or brand’s profile. From there they can see updated store details (like hours, location) and make purchases or returns. In the fall, voter registration was encouraged and enabled to communities using QR codes. Towards the end of 2020, CVS became the first national retailer to offer support for PayPal and Venmo QR codes as a form of touch-free payment at checkout.  And yes, here in spring 2021 as the vaccine is rolling out, you’ll see TV commercials and flyers that have QR Codes for not only registering for a shot, but also providing health information, guidance, and a means of educating the population.

QR stands for ‘quick response’ and one thing is for certain: the return of QR Codes to the spotlight will be anything but quick. They are firmly mainstream, here for the future and here to stay.

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2020 and Beyond: QR Codes in Healthcare

Posted on March 15th, 2021 by

This blog is the final in our series, focusing on how QR codes are becoming an increasingly vital part of our daily lives.  Given the novel coronavirus, we’ll continue to see QR code use surge in 2021 in healthcare – from patient wristbands to (potentially!) traveler’s vaccine passports.

QR code’s involvement in healthcare is perhaps the most important and evolving sector at the moment amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It has been suggested that QR codes “will be one of the biggest contributors to healthcare” and that numerous hospitals around the country have already developed QR codes in their algorithms.[1] For example, QR codes can be added onto a patient’s wristband, and with a single scan, the doctor can immediately access up-to-date information about the patient (medication prescribed, timings of medication, list of allergies, etc.). QR codes at hospitals also provides a smooth checkout experience for both the patient and the hospital, keeping operations running smoothly and efficiently.

       This idea is further highlighted by author Shailendra Sinhasane in her blog post entitled, “How Healthcare Providers are Using QR Codes to Enhance Patient Outcomes”. Sinhasane informs readers that QR codes, “can reduce medical errors, enhance administration, save time and allow doctors to concentrate on their patients.”[2] Sinhasane also highlights the versatility of the QR code throughout the healthcare sector, most notably within: healthcare marketing, patient identity management, patient health/medical information, medical equipment information, and drug safety.

       The adoption of QR codes to streamline a hospitals workflow, improve patient outcome, and save time/cost is a no-brainer, one which will be seen in large proportions in 2021.


[1] Choudhary, Sneh Ratna. “Why 2021 Is the Year of QR Codes.” Beaconstac RSS, 24 Dec. 2020, blog.beaconstac.com/2019/02/why-2019-is-the-year-of-qr-codes/.

[2] Sinhasane , Shailendra. “How Healthcare Providers Are Using QR Codes to Enhance Patient Outcomes?” Mobisoft Infotech, 25 Nov. 2020, mobisoftinfotech.com/resources/blog/qr-codes-to-enhance-patient-outcome/.

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2020 and Beyond: QR Codes at the Dealership

Posted on February 14th, 2021 by

This blog is the second of three in a series that focuses on how QR codes are becoming more immersed in our lives and in our actions.  After the year of the pandemic, we’ll continue to see QR code use surge in 2021.  Buying a new car? You may lean more on a QR code – and less on a salesperson – at the start of your shopping experience.

Circling back to our previous article, QR codes can be used by car dealerships to make the overall buying experience for the consumer much less stressful. Those long sheets of paper containing the vehicles’ information displayed on a side window is difficult to understand and is almost impossible to compare with other vehicles; the consumer is left struggling to remember which information applies to which vehicle. QR codes can easily rectify this issue. By simply placing QR codes on the vehicles, customers and sales representatives alike can scan the code to quickly get all of the relevant information about the car, allowing for easy comparison shopping. Furthermore, the author suggests that dynamic QR codes can be implemented by car dealerships to allow for regular updates regarding the vehicle information.

Businesses are certainly already taking advantage of the applicability of QR codes in the automotive inventory merchandising sector. One company, DealerCarSearch, enables car dealerships to easily display an informational QR code on any vehicle’s window as a sticker. According to their website, “The QR Code links shoppers directly to the Vehicle Detail Page on your website. This hi-tech feature converts after hours lot walkers and window shoppers into solid leads for your dealership when your Dealership is closed.” This concept can be taken even further, with the possibility of dealerships advertising particular vehicles in newspapers, magazines, and even social media all through a QR code.


QR Codes – https://www.dealercarsearch.com/qr-codes-for-car-dealers.aspx

Choudhary, Sneh Ratna. “Why 2021 Is the Year of QR Codes.” Beaconstac RSS, 24 Dec. 2020, blog.beaconstac.com/2019/02/why-2019-is-the-year-of-qr-codes/.

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2020 and Beyond: QR Codes on Packaging

Posted on February 7th, 2021 by

With everything the pandemic brought to 2020, the year was a spotlight shining brightly on how touch-free solutions and QR Codes are to be a major part of not just our dining or shopping experience, but are fully a part of lives today, tomorrow, and well into the future.

We fully expect see a massive surge of QR code use into 2021.  This blog is the first of three in a series which will focus on how QR codes will continue to develop and grow in the future.

When shopping, product packaging is a crucial aspect of consumer decision-making. In fact, in her article “Why 2021 is the year of QR codes” author Sneh Ratna Choudhary shares with readers that approximately 1/3rd of consumer decision making when shopping is solely based on a product’s packaging. Choudhary further reiterates this point with the realization that QR codes are the answer to the ever-present marketing problem of creating a minimalistic yet aesthetically pleasing design. The author also touches on QR codes being required with GMO products in the U.S.; supplying the consumer with an easy way to learn more about the ingredients within the product.

Today’s consumer is not only concerned about ingredients in GMO products, however. According to a 2020 consumer behavior report published by Deloitte, current and future consumers will most likely be making purchasing decisions based on a newly understood set of parameters, including: nutritional awareness, sustainability, and social responsibility. In his article titled “QR Codes on Food: How QR Code Food Uses Engage Customers”, the author addresses these three purchasing parameters and how QR codes can be effectively implemented with each. Firstly, the author highlights that only about one of every 3 people check the nutritional labels on the packaged food they eat, even though approximately 63% of the population want to eat healthy “most or all of the time”. Scott outlines that providing nutritional information via QR code, something that subsequently isn’t restricted by the space on product packaging, allows manufacturers the ability to add a more detailed set of information that is invaluable to consumers. Scott urges manufacturers to take advantage of the greater flexibility with the QR code, as consumers can be made easily aware of allergy information, social responsibility initiatives, instructions, sustainability certifications, and more with a simple scan. This also opens the door for the possibilities of food traceability. As the author outlines, “a running account of where [a product] originated, was manufactured, and was distributed along with relevant information about those production, manufacturing, and distribution facilities [can all be traced using a QR code]. Scott further emphasizes that QR code traceability can also take into account the present status of products, such as product recalls, updates regarding production facilities/fulfillment centers, and any other relevant information in regards to the product’s present supply chain status.

It is clear that the use of the QR code will continue to grow exponentially into 2021, with QR code food labels just one of many versatile uses of the technology.


Choudhary, Sneh Ratna. “Why 2021 Is the Year of QR Codes.” Beaconstac RSS, 24 Dec. 2020, blog.beaconstac.com/2019/02/why-2019-is-the-year-of-qr-codes/.

Scott. “QR Codes on Food: How QR Code Food Uses Engage Customers.” SproutQR, SproutQR, Inc., 1 Sept. 2020, www.sproutqr.com/blog/qr-code-food.

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