QR codes link the virtual world with the real world. Like many technologies it sounds abstract but once appreciated it can be very powerful for the events world. A few of our customers have been asking what, practically, can one do with them…so we have listed a few applications.

For those of you who haven’t come across them before, QR codes are the next generation of bar code. A normal bar code contains just a set of numbers which can be quickly read by a computer (or you can read them yourself if you are so inclined) whereas as a QR codes can contain text and context information, such as identifying the text as a URL or an email address. QR codes can be generated for free (here is one example) and many apps exist to scan them just by taking a photo from a smartphone.

Using them in print media – Imagine you are launching a press campaign for a new event. You want people to go to a website to sign up for the event. The print advert cost you a bit so ideally you want to know how many people register as a result of seeing it. Normally to achieve this you would either use a hyperlink for registration which is unique to the advert (which can be hard to remember) or ask those who register where they saw the advert (good luck getting someone to fill that out). Now imagine you create a QR code which links to a registration form with a special string which highlights the exact advert. If someone wants to register whilst reading the advert they pull their phone from their pocket, take a photo of the QR code and they are immediately connected to the hyperlink.

Linking them into social media – Although this requires a little bit of technical knowhow a lot of companies are now linking QR codes with a Facebook ‘Like’ so that it can be instantly shared with someone’s friends. By using a small application interface (in Facebook) people viewing a poster at an event can ‘like’ it which then presents itself in their Facebook profile (they need to input their password and username). The event attendee would take a photo of the QR code which would then link them to the sign in function for Facebook.

QR Code Example

QR code in use

Used as a feedback link – I saw this recently on Eurostar. Just a simple poster as you leave their luggage area which reminds customers with any feedback to please send them a text message. Text is great, however on the same poster you could include a QR code with a specific email access. Much quicker for the person walking out of the area who doesn’t have time to stand and type in the email address to wewantyourfeedback@someverylongdomainname.com is to use a QR code

Put them on your business card – QR codes can contain a full digital business card, so no longer do your contacts need to type in your information.

Payment systems (and beyond) – Starbucks has a great example of this application working now. You pay for a coffee through their smartphone application then simply show the barista the QR code. They have a scanner at the pay point which confirms the QR code against their system and you get your super latte mocca frappe. Imagine that working at a bar? Or for a customer willing to pay access to VIP shower facilities? Endless possibilities.