The acceptance of QR codes has been slow going. It is no surprise that, given their versatility, the codes have been popular with companies both big and small, but their use with individuals has been lackluster. Earlier this year, a report was released that showed the rate of usage for the codes had gone up by 1,200% in 2010. The results of that report, however, may belie the fact that the codes had previously been non-existent or otherwise unavailable for scanning. There are indicators that the codes are becoming more popular with consumers, as was the case with this year’s SxSW conference in Texas.
The South by South West conference has long been a technologic festival. People come from all over the country to see the latest development in innovative technologies and gadgets. This year, mobile technology was the subject of interest. The response to the codes used at the festival has been promising. Many people scanned and shared the codes with friends after they were told they could do so with their smart phones. And therein lies the main challenge for the codes.
Many people do not know what the codes are. They seem to be little more than a black and white splotchy pattern taking up space on advertisements. Furthermore, a large portion of smart phone users are not even aware that the codes can be scanned with their mobile device.
Education is the key to the acceptance of QR codes. They truly have the potential to be widely used, as demonstrated at SxSW, but without consumer knowledge, they will never be more than a confusing mosaic of blocks.