QR Codes: the Ubiquitous Content Management System
By Sam Vaknin
Author of "Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"
QR (Quick Response) codes are graphical barcodes: square black dots arranged in a grid on a white background. Subject to the installation of an app, they can be scanned by devices such as smartphones and digital cameras and call up text, videos, audio snippets, and other digitized content. QR codes can be printed or pasted onto any flat surface: paper, walls, screens, or windows.
These features allow QR codes to be deployed in unique and intriguing ways. Consider the following:
1. Identify specific items within a product category and track them;
2. Track, record, and monitor time and workflows (by asking workers to scan specific QR codes along the production line, for instance);
3. Document and content management;
4. Printed on promotional materials and products, QR codes can serve as a marketing tool. When scanned they can call up videos, texts, forms, and even reservation modules;
5. QR codes can be integrated into existing payment systems. When scanned they can charge a mobile wallet and leverage NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies to effect transactions;
6. QR Codes can be printed on disposable tablecloths in restaurants and hotels to yield the day’s special offers; information about dishes and ingredients; beverages and refreshments; tourist attractions nearby; the professional resume of the chef and his staff; the history of the establishment; etc. New QR codes can be added and old ones discarded in future editions of the tablecloths, thus rendering the surface of every table a virtual TV;
7. QR codes can encode an entire curriculum of studies in a single brochure. Students will simply scan the relevant squares in accordance with a timetable to call up content on their laptops (text, homework, lab exercises, videos, primary source materials), or to communicate with their tutors/teachers via chat;
8. In the form of wallpaper, window stickers, and refrigerator magnets, QR codes can contain and lead to information about the house, or building; its occupants; their vocations and avocations; pets; holiday photo and video albums; preferred weather, sound and colour schemes called up on hanging TV or computer screens; and even chores, laundry programs, instructions for handymen, visitors, and guests, and shopping lists.
9. Integrated with management and tasking applications, ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning), and CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, QR codes can facilitate communication between clients or users and suppliers or providers. They can also smooth and enhance collaborative efforts.
10. Added to newspapers and magazines, QR codes can call up supplemental text, audio, and video material: interviews, references, supporting documents, and contextual augmented information.