When it comes to label personalization and reliable protection against counterfeit, all means come into play. Some of them have been known for a long time, others are only gaining momentum and developing in the world. But the QR code is something in between. What is already familiar to everyone, but at the same time all the possibilities of the technology have not yet been used. Let’s see how the QR code first appeared, what its role in personalizing and protecting the label, as well as what opportunities it opens today.
The history of the emergence of QR codes
A QR code is a direct successor to a bar code. That’s just the basis of the second lay Morse technology, which was used to automate various goods and technology. And for decades the barcode has been the only normal labeling option. Habit stripes and numbers have long become commonplace for any contemporary. However, barcode features are limited.
A linear code can contain from 20 to 30 characters, which is sometimes not enough. Japanese experts set a goal to expand the capabilities of the barcode, but with the classic approach it was impossible. And two-dimensional (matrix) codes appear in the arena, among which the QR code has become the main by right.
Unlike a conventional barcode, a QR code has a number of positive qualities:
- Increasing the amount of encoded information several times;
- Information is not duplicated by human-readable characters;
- There are several options to choose from.
In fact, it is difficult to call a QR code something conceptually new. Still, the technology is extremely close to the classic bar code. However, the difference is obvious. A QR code is a kind of link between reality and the virtual world, no matter how strange it may sound. The opportunities that opened QR codes are indeed much wider than they were before. Any modern phone or tablet can easily read information from a QR code in a split second. And this information can be very diverse: data on products, a link to the official website, an encrypted code that takes part in the action, and even a short story. You can encrypt almost everything, and the user will be able to read this information without any problems using his pocket gadget.
Thus, the technology that was originally developed for a fairly narrow professional use (production, trade and logistics) quickly spread to other industries – advertising, promotion on the Internet and much more. Moreover! Today you can even meet people who fill their own tattoos with a QR code, which may contain information about the birthday, name and anything else. And yes, they are read. Still, the most rational use of technology is in the production and personalization of label products.
Active and passive reading of QR codes
Rapidly developing, the production technology of QR codes is moving further and further away from their one-dimensional “ancestors”. The main difference nevertheless lies in the complete change of the roles “object-subject). Traditionally, QR codes use passive reading of information. QR codes are read in stores, checkpoints, cultural places, etc. That is, in this case, the person acts as a passive reading participant. The active participant reads the code itself. For example, having seen an advertisement on a big-board in the street, on which a QR-code with the address of the site is marked. Why rewrite a long name with a bunch of characters (slashes, colons, etc.) manually if you can simply scan the code and immediately get a link to the site? It is convenient and fast. And most importantly – for sure. In this case, the person acts as an active participant in the reading.
A QR code is a completely new way to interact and automate a multitude of processes in production, trade, advertising and even in everyday life.
What does the distribution of QR codes on labels mean for buyers and manufacturers?
The use of QR codes definitely benefits both parties. For manufacturers, this is primarily a completely new way of interacting with the consumer. If earlier information on the label area was significantly limited, then now it can contain much more data encrypted in a QR code. Bar codes and QR codes can be compared, but the former are more focused on simplifying and automating logistics. The barcode does not convey practically any information to a regular customer. The majority is limited by the fact that by the first digits it recognizes the country of the manufacturer. The rest remains unknown. With the QR code, the amount of information provided significantly expands. And it can be almost anything.
The buyer, of course, also benefits from this. Many modern gadgets by default have built-in software for reading QR codes. If not, the desired application can be downloaded at any time from the program store. All modern mobile operating systems support these applications and there are no problems with work. And gadgets with a good camera can easily read even the smallest codes, 1×1 cm in size. Thus, the buyer gets free access to information that was previously inaccessible to him, can find out more information about the manufacturer and the specific product, decide whether to buy his, or better to find an alternative.
Why the QR code has not yet superseded bar analogues?
This is a rather ambiguous question. Here the problem is rather in the long experience of using the second. Everyone has become accustomed to bar codes, and equipment for reading is installed in supermarkets and in production. Replacing a barcode with a QR counterpart is currently a serious financial expense for many. Therefore, the latter are used rather as an addition to the first.
Another issue is the use of QR codes and legislation. The presence of a bar code on the label is a mandatory requirement for manufacturers in almost all modern segments. If bar coding is replaced with QR codes, then legislation will also have to be changed. Either require the presence of both encodings, which is illogical, or completely replace the bar codes, after which they are likely to disappear as a species. At the moment, such a serious change in production and trade is a measure too radical and requires serious investments. Therefore, to expect any major changes in this matter in the coming years is not necessary. And it is unlikely that the first steps will be taken in Russia. Most likely, this will happen in the United States or Western Europe, and even then not soon.
Nevertheless, the technology is actively developing and being implemented everywhere. This is a great opportunity to personalize the label and reliably protect it from forgery. But for the present it is only an auxiliary measure, and not the main means. If you want to order the printing of labels with QR codes, contact Etiketki24. We will develop for you a unique bar code with the necessary information and perform high-quality printing of the desired circulation. Our goal is to provide our customers with an exceptionally high-quality product that reliably protects their goods from counterfeit.