(Photo is for representational purposes only)
While it’s true that QR codes are a great marketing tool, we think they have great potential beyond commerce and business. For instance, we recently heard that West Berkshire in the United Kingdom is using QR codes to inform citizens about planned changes to the city – obviously that is a great idea for a variety of reasons:
- More and more people are getting comfortable with using smartphones and other mobile devices and are familiar with QR codes.
- A lot of the detailed information cannot be given out on posters or flyers, so simply by scanning the bar codes, people will get all the information they need.
- According to the city council, the QR codes will be placed on notices in areas where changes are proposed, so passersby can be informed. This means that when people are at a particular street and they find out what changes are to be made, they can visualize it more effectively.
Of course, administrative bodies can use QR codes for purposes other than informing citizens of planned changes.
- Create transparency: The state of Indiana decided to use QR codes on a number of printed materials and even included them in letters that were sent to constituents. Once scanned, these codes would inform people of pending legislations and current projects being undertaken by their representatives. By this move, the state hoped to achieve a level of transparency, that had never been achieved before.
- Share information about essential services: Governments can use strategically placed QR codes to share the contact numbers for essential services like the police department, fire department and emergency services. The code could also be used to educate people on how to act in times of emergency, such as an auto accident, assault or robbery.
- Involve citizens in fighting crime: It’s impossible to plaster a whole city with posters from the ‘rogue’s gallery’. However, with QR codes, it is certainly possible to give people access to pictures of people wanted by the police in connection to various crimes. This is exactly what the police in the West Midlands in UK are doing. Similarly, QR codes could also be used to trace missing children, such as in this case where Missing Children Argentina placed QR codes in parks, to directly target parents.