Everything You Need To Know

Are QR Codes Soon To Be A Thing Of The Past? - Nov 2012

While QR Codes are proving popular and are springing up in more and more locations, it seems there are new technologies and alternatives that could match and in some cases improve on what QR Codes can deliver.

One emerging alternative is Mobile Visual Search (MVS), the idea behind this technology is that you can scan any image and the MSV application can bring up the information related to that item or a URL. This is much more practical and more pleasing to the eye and means you don’t need to seek out the small area you can scan on a poster you want more details on. You can also scan a book cover or other items typically not containing a QR Code.

One application already available that makes use of this is Google Goggles. Check out this video for an overview of how it works.

Google Googles Another emerging technology is NFC. NFC has been around for a few years now and is commonly linked with mobile payments. While NFC certainly can offer mobile payments, it's wrong to assume this is all it can do. NFC allows devices to communicate and interact with each other.

While discussing QR Codes we have used examples in the past whereby a poster may have QR Code that can be scanned for more information about the product in the posted. With NFC you don’t need to scan a visual image. Touching your phone against the item would instantly bring the additional detail to your device.

Some other uses for NFC are:

  • Top up your phone at a cashpoint
  • Share date between your smartphone and your tablet or a friend’s smartphone by tapping them together.
  • Pair your device to your cars Bluetooth or Wi-Fi network at home simply by touching it against the dashboard or router.
  • Obtain a tube map or promotions in a store by tapping your phone against the price tag.

NFC uses a small tag similar to how RFID works in security tags, It doesn't need to be powered and the receiver in your phone is able to retrieve detail from that.

One downside with NFC is that it only has a range of a few centimeters, so whereas with a QR Code you can place a 6ft code on a billboard that can be scanned from 100ft away, with NFC the user would need to be able to touch the billboard.

These new technologies are in their infancy and over the next few years we will see new and exciting ways to use them. The benefit of QR Codes is that anyone can make one and encode the exact data they require, it's not so easy for You or I to pull together an NFC tag that we can embed into a poster and with MVS, its very much depending on the quality of the database running the App. and how well that App. is able to recognise the object scanned.

In answer to the original question, I don’t believe so, while other technologies will emerge that can take things to the next level, the basic and simple way in which a QR Code can be created and scanned means it will be around for a long time to come. We are also still seeing them appear in more places such as on the Xbox One and within the YouTube TV apps so i suspect this is only the beginning.


If you want to learn more about QR Codes, you should read What's A QR Code?

Or take a look at our FAQs

Alternatively if you know the basics and want something a bit more technical, try The Technical Stuff