QR Codes — The Future That Nobody Wanted

Point, shoot, visit. That was supposed to be the future. Consumers should be able to simply point their device at a square and suddenly, an action such as pulling up a website occurs. It sounds relatively simple in theory and pretty intutive for the average person. However, the average person overwhelmingly rejected this notion.

This idea is known as the QR codes and has been steadily rejected by the masses. It was predicted that there would be very little use for putting information such as website addesses on ads anymore, as consumers would simply look for a QR code on the ad instead. Some even thought that they would scrap entire ads to replace them with giant codes.

Clearly, none of this happened. According to a survey done in 2013, only 21% of smartphone owners have ever scanned a QR code. That sounds like a pretty large percentage, however when you look at active users, only 2% use QR codes regularly.

QR codes were introduced in an interesting time. The technology could have well in fact worked in the early smartphone age when things were a bit more primitive so to speak. Consumers were still amazed at any feature on their phones and were still exploring them. However, as consumers became more fluent on their devices they were able to navigate on them with expertise and could accomplish a task like opening up a web address with lighting speed.

This expertise might hinder any need for a QR code. Consumers can just open up their browser and type something like a web address at almost the same speed it take them to pull out their device, open a scanning app, point and center a code, then wait for the app to reroute them into a browser. It sounds like the epitome of a “first-world” problem, and it is. But consumers don’t see the need to do something they see has over-complicating for something so simple to them.

QR codes were barely technoglically relevant on their release, and along with the advent of new NFC technologies, a proximity based technology that can transfer information, QR fell by the wayside. NFC leapfrogged QR almost immediately. NFC has only just begun to be implemented and is already lightyears ahead of QR at it’s best. NFC might very well steal QR’s predicted future.

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