Do you know what a QR Code is? QR stands for Quick Response. The two-dimensional code was developed by Denso Wave Corporation in 1994. QR Code contains information in both the vertical and horizontal directions, whereas a traditional bar code contains data in one direction only. QR Code holds a considerably greater volume of information than a bar code. As a result, companies, museums, and individuals have embraced the technology and have used the QR Code for a variety of applications ranging from gallery labels to grave stones. With a simple QR Code Reader and Scanner App that can be downloaded for FREE on your mobile smart phone, a user can take a picture via their camera on the phone while in the App, and the application will scan the data within the QR Code and directly link the phone to the embedded content.
This past weekend, I presented on this innovative technology at the Association of Midwest Museums 2010 Annual Conference: Museums Making Connections in Cleveland, Ohio. With the evolution of Web 2.0 and the rise of smart phones, today’s museum visitors seek more multimedia content that they are able to access, share, and save on their mobile devices. On the flip side, museums are frantically searching for a way to connect to a constantly connected audience. One challenge is getting over the learning curve of in-house technologies used for digital tours (i.e., iPods, iPads, and other digital players). But if the content can be accessed straight from the users personal smart phone, then there is no learning curve – they must only understand the mysteries of the QR Code – quickly gaining popularity in the United States. If you were to talk with a native from Japan about QR Code, it would be like talking about the intuitive action of walking. Over 75% of people in Japan either know or have used QR Codes in their daily life. The QR Codes exist on newspapers, billboards, tattoos, and even wedding rings.
Look out for QR Codes soon in the galleries and throughout the museum. You may even start to see them in our advertisements in local media publications. Still confused? Curious? Use this simple guide to get started.