Report: QR codes haven’t caught on

Jeff Hargarten

QR codes, those pixelated barcodes found across the University of Minnesota campus and throughout the nation, aren’t catching on with consumers, said a report from digital pollster comScore.

QR codes can store information vertically and horizontally, as opposed to standard barcodes that only hold data horizontally. Its shape lets the QR code store 90 alphanumeric characters of information, while standard UPC codes keep only 12 numbers.

Source: Minnesota DailyThe codes are typically scanned by smartphone users to redirect their cell’s browser to websites featuring product ads, contact information or personal biographies. They can be found on everything from magazines, promotional posters, T-shirts and even tombstones.

The report said 14 million mobile phone users scanned QR codes this summer, and only 6.2 percent of subscribers made use of the technology. The audience was described as largely “male, young to middle-age and upper income.”

Initially, the codes gained popularity in Japan and were designed by Toyota subsidiary Denso Wave to track automobiles during the manufacturing process.

The University started updating the signs outside general purpose classrooms with QR codes over the summer, said Jeremy Todd, director of the University’s Office of Classroom Management. Starting this Fall 2011 semester, students could scan the codes with their phones to view class schedules.

“QR Codes are a great way to get more direct information to room users, since they can be used to link directly to the building schedule,” he said.

There are no current plans to expand the University’s use of QR codes, Todd said.