Substantial business value can be found at the crossroads of QR codes and digital content. But a good number of conditions need to be fulfilled for a productive solution. The many QR code generators you can find on the web seem to suggest otherwise: indeed, it is gratifying to generate your first QR code and see it work as it directs you to a web page. A bit like hitting your very first golf ball after a couple air-shattering swings. 

However,  integrating QR codes into your business processes or workflow is another matter. It is important to understand that, by itself, a QR code is not a product. It is just an interesting feature in the larger data scheme of things: it can help you cross the boundary between the physical and the digital world, where real value is produced way beyond what a simplistic hookup of a QR code and a web page can provide.

A typical use case is that of packaged or industrial goods where QR codes are used to carry product information, certificates, warranties etc. to customers (or any other stakeholders in the distribution chain), as well as to carry back customer feedback or support related requests and materials.

You can see the scenario - you bought a piece of furniture, built to order. Using your phone to scan the QR code inside the closet door immediately shows the product documentation PDF and a few quick instruction videos. Additionally, there are custom design drawings both in PDF and high-res formats, plus the invoice and warranty documents. Say you accidentally break off a closet handle 7 years from now, the customer feedback function allows for sending back a picture of the damage so the furniture builder can follow up.

While straightforward to start with, this use case still needs a number of things to be in place, preferably including:

  • An attractive and flexible responsive UI, branded to the furniture builder, flexible enough to work with a list of media that can be previewed, rendered or streamed in place. Obviously, over the lifetime of the QR code (10 years seems reasonable), this UI will need to be kept current with the evolving web and browser standards and continuously tested on all popular device classes to guarantee an issue-free UX

  • Flexible support for generating and printing QR codes in advance on all kinds of industrialized substrates while keeping onboarding workflows simple

  • Flexible onboarding workflows to attach QR code to asset, then content to QR code, as well as vice versa

  • Wide open data integration capability to automatically integrate data from any external source, either at production time, at any moment thereafter, or in real time at QR code scan.

  • Basic CMS functionality for updating content out there, both for the package category and for the individual packages

  • An industrial strength cloud service to consistently deliver and perform at scale, 24/7, in all geographies, with a strong SLA and a long term perspective >10 years

  • A SaaS business model that makes sense for the use case, both in sizing and pricing

  • An entirely free way to start prototyping in minutes and successfully develop and demo the entire use case by yourself, before having to decide and order

In case you still think that a simple QR code pointing to a web page will do the trick for you, just take half a day and try it out. After that, take half an hour and try

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