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From the origins and rebirth of the QR code…

The story of the QR code is a great example of technology whose original design had a completely different purpose than what it is used for today. The QR code was created in 1994 by an engineering firm commissioned by the Japanese company Toyota to track spare parts in its vehicle production plants. Five years later, this technology became public as a royalty-free data structure.

The QR code and its rebirth
Figure 1. The inventor of the QR code, Masahiro Hara
 

The QR code came back in 1999 through its rapid expansion in Japan, and it only took a few years thereafter before its popularity spread all over the world.

…to the future of digital displays

Digital and dynamic signage is becoming more and more available in multiplatform mode, including in web platforms using a hyperlink. It then becomes logical that a content management product for digital and dynamic signage offers content-sharing features through QR codes.

digital signage QR code
Figure 2. QR code enabling you to open ITESLIVE on a web platform – try it!
 

The QR codes can also be used on a screen to share content with passers-by that can’t stop to look at screens. By using these codes, people can “take along” the displayed content and use it at a more appropriate time for them. For example, a real estate agency with a storefront can use its windows to advertise properties for sale. By adding a QR code in the displays showing properties for sale, passers-by (even those in a hurry) can take a few seconds to scan the QR code and look at the content at a later time. QR codes can be used in two different contexts: to offer portability for the content displayed on the digital screen, or to redirect customers to another web site, e.g. a webpage showing detailed information about a property for sale.

A second example of a practical way to use QR codes for digital and dynamic signage is in the public transit sector. We often see signs at bus stops or in train stations displaying the number of minutes before the next scheduled passage. QR codes could be provided to enable users to access the complete bus or train schedule on their mobile phones.

QR codes for digital signage provide an indirect, yet efficient interaction between passers-by and screens. This method enables portability of the screen content and provides additional information with the displayed content. This is a considerable advantage if the objective is to reach both types of passers-by: the ones that have the time to read the content immediately and the others who wish to see the content at their leisure.

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