What is a QR Code? Function, Type, and are QR Codes Safe?
What is a QR Code? QR code is a technology in the form of a code that allows users to access information quickly. Learn more about what a QR code is, its function, how it works, how to create it, and how to scan a QR code.
What is a QR Code?
QR Code is an abbreviation of “Quick Response Code” also known as QR Code. A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode arrangement that contains a lot of information provided by the company or provider.
Users can scan the barcode with a digital device or smartphone. The purpose of the QR code is so that users can access information quickly and practically.
The QR code system was first invented by the Japanese company Denso Wave—a subsidiary of Toyota in 1994. They created the system initially to track vehicles and parts during the manufacturing process quickly and accurately.
They also developed a type of barcode that can scan codes from kanji, kana, and alphanumeric characters. In its development, QR codes can store up to 2089 digits or 4289 characters including letters, punctuation marks, and special characters.
QR Code Function
The QR code function makes it easier, faster, and more practical for users to get the information they need. No need to bother typing one by one on your phone to open the page or application you want to go to.
Simply scan the QR code provided, and users can access the information. It also makes it easier for operators to retrieve information from users.
QR codes can also be used to:
- Online account authentication and login details verification.
- Save contacts to the phonebook on the phone.
- Redeem coupons easily.
- Access login or sign in to a place.
- Access WiFi by saving encryption details like SSID, password, and encryption type.
- Send and receive payment information digitally and through mobile banking.
- Delivers direct links to download apps on the Apple App Store or Google Play.
- Knowing the complete information about a product, object, or building.
A British company called QR Memories even creates QR codes for tombstones. The goal is that anyone can scan the code and get information about the history of the deceased person.
While Denso Wave continues to refine the original design of the QR code. In 2020, new QR codes allow you to track original products, support anti-counterfeiting measures, and protect brands.
QR codes are increasingly being used since the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitors in public places such as stations, restaurants, terminals, malls, and others must scan a QR barcode that leads directly to the PeduliLindung application.
The point is to track the total number of visitors, make sure visitors have the COVID-19 vaccine, and inform visitors about the spread of COVID-19 in the surrounding area.
How QR Codes Work
The QR code is square in shape and the pattern represents a binary code that is ready to reveal the code data. Consists of black dots, black blocks, and spaces.
A QR reader (your smartphone for example) can identify standard QR codes based on the three large squares outside the QR code, thus verifying that all patterns are QR codes.
QR reader analyzes QR code by breaking all patterns into squares. Identify the black and white arrangement of the squares and group the squares into a larger pattern to scan the data, information, and meaning.
QR Code Parts
Standard QR codes can be identified based on 6 components consisting of:
1. Quiet Zone
Blank white border in the outer area of the QR code. QR readers will be confused to determine what is and is not in the QR code. This is a kind of limitation so that there is no interference (images or writing) from the outside.
2. Pattern Finder
Three black squares in the bottom left, top left, and top right corners. The QR reader reading the three squares means that it has found the QR code and knows where the outer boundary of the code is.
3. Alignment Pattern
The small box near the bottom right corner. This ensures that the QR code can be read even if it is tilted.
4. Timing Pattern
An L-shaped line that runs between the three squares in the Pattern Finder. QR Reader identifies the code boxes one by one in the whole code. Allows to still be able to read the damaged QR code box.
5. Version Information
The small information field is located near the top-right cell of the Pattern Finder. Identify which version of the QR code is being read.
6. Data Cells
Another QR code contains actual information, such as a URL, phone number, or other messages.
Multiple Versions of QR Code
There are at least 4 widely accepted versions of the QR code. That is, in what form the QR code is stored, namely in the form of numeric, alphanumeric, binary, or kanji.
Here is the QR code version:
1. Numerical Mode
Contains information in the form of decimal numbers 0 to 9. Rated as the most effective QR code storage because it can contain up to 7,089 characters.
2. Alphanumeric Mode
Digital decimals 0 to 9, plus uppercase letters A to Z, and the symbols $, %, *, +, –, ., /, and: and spaces. This makes it possible to store information up to 4,296 characters long.
3. Byte Mode
Contains characters from the ISO–8859–1 character set. This makes it possible to store information up to 2,953 characters long.
4. Kanji Mode
double-byte character from the JIS Shift character set and is used to encode characters in Japanese. The original version of the QR code, however, is considered ineffective because it only stores 1,817 characters.
Extended Channel Interpretation (ECI) is a second Kanji mode that can define the UTF–8 kanji character set. However, some users have complained that they cannot read this character set.
There are two additional versions in the form of other QR version modifications, namely:
1. Structured Append Mode
Encodes data across multiple QR codes, allowing up to 16 QR codes to be read simultaneously.
2. FNC1 Mode
Allows QR codes to function as GS1 barcodes.
Types of QR Code
The following are the most commonly used types of QR codes:
1. Static QR Code
Contains an information code that cannot be edited again once it is created. Typically used to contain information such as technical product documentation, schedule, employee ID, personal use, or other QR code APIs.
Example of using a static QR code:
- Email: A QR code containing your business email information.
- vCard: Contains information that would normally be on a business card, including your email address, phone number, website URL, and company details.
- Plain Text: Contains information in the form of writing up to 300 characters. Any messages or information in multiple languages.
- Bitcoin: Contains Bitcoin or Crypto information so as to facilitate Cryptocurrency transactions in a practical way.
- WiFi: No need to type username and password. Simply by scanning the QR code you can connect to access WiFi.
Static QR code types are not ideal for marketing campaigns because they cannot track metrics or allow editing of content creation.
2. Dynamic QR Code
You can edit the Dynamic QR Code as needed so it is suitable for business and marketing purposes.
You have access to when, where, and on what device the scan was performed, add campaign info, reset the scan, and download the results as a CSV report.
Example of using dynamic QR code:
- App Stores: Contains information that links users to multiple app stores or contains instructions for downloading your business’s mobile apps.
- PDF: Contains your digital magazine, brochure, eBook, menu, or product list.
- Social Media: Share all your social media accounts. Be it Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or Instagram so that visitors can follow easily.
- Coupons: Barcodes so your customers can get them easily.
- Digital Payments: This Contains payment details information digitally.
- Business Page: This contains information about the online store’s website, the location of your physical store, opening hours, and how to find you with Google Maps.
How to Create a QR Code
Here’s how to create a QR code:
- Determine the purpose, whether to access store information, WiFi, restaurant menus, coupons, and more.
- You can generate QR codes online for free with the QR Code Generator app, QR Code API, or Bulk Generation Services (for multiple barcodes). Follow the guide to create a barcode in the application.
How to Scan QR Code
The latest smartphone and tablet technology is equipped with a QR reader in the feature phone. It is installed in the camera of the phone or you can install certain apps to read the QR code first.
Here’s how to scan a QR code:
- Open the QR reader application on your smartphone.
- Point the smartphone screen at the QR code.
- Information will appear on the smartphone screen.
Another way is for you to enter the application you want to go to, for example, the PeduliLindung application. Click ‘Scan QR Code‘ and point the smartphone at the QR code. You will go to the next page and follow the instructions.
Are QR Codes Safe?
Given that the QR code contains and sends information, many parties are concerned and ask whether the user’s personal information can also be stolen during the process of scanning the data.
Cybercrime can occur when hackers create a QR code by embedding a malicious URL that contains malware or viruses into the QR code so that it can extract data from your smartphone, or direct you to a phishing site.
QR codes created by official parties or companies cannot be hacked because QR codes are formed according to the purpose of the QR code.
Software that provides QR code generation services also cannot collect users’ personal information.
So, the QR code is safe to use only if you scan the QR code from an official place. Don’t let yourself just scan the QR barcode from a foreign place because it might be a QR code made by bad people to deceive or misuse your personal information.
That’s a complete discussion of the QR code function, how to make it, how to scan it, and all types. This is a technology to makes it easier for users and operators to provide and obtain information digitally.