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Uses for QR Codes Around the House

It seems I’m always writing about marketing uses for QR codes, but where’s the fun in that? Well, a great marketing campaign is fun, just so I don’t make my techno geek side feel bad about that statement, but there are some uses for QR codes at home that will make your life a little easier… and fun!

I’ll go over how QR codes came into being for the twelbedy-umpteeneh time in my career, just as a focal point of why home use makes sense.

QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response Code) is the trademark for a type of matrix barcode (or two-dimensional barcode) first designed for the automotive industry in Japan; a barcode is an optically machine-readable label that is attached to an item and that records information related to that item: The information encoded by a QR code may be made up of four standardized types (“modes”) of data (numeric, alphanumeric, byte / binary, Kanji) or, through supported extensions, virtually any type of data.

The QR Code system has become popular outside the automotive industry due to its fast readability and greater storage capacity compared to standard UPC barcodes. Applications include product tracking, item identification, time tracking, document management, general marketing, and much more.

The QR code system was invented in 1994 by Toyota’s subsidiary, Denso Wave. Its purpose was to track vehicles during manufacture; it was designed to allow high-speed component scanning. It has since become one of the most popular types of two-dimensional barcodes. (Source — Wikipedia)

“Tracking,” “identification,” and “management” are the keywords that stand out. Do you need that in your home? I’ll bet you do!

Electronics manuals and QR codes

If you’re like me, you have a binder filled with the instruction manuals for all of your electronic devices that you have no idea where you put it. So, like me, every time you need to refer to the manual, you need to upend the device, copy down the make and model number, search the internet and find the online user’s manual. Then, down the road, you need to do it again for whatever reason. If the devices are piled up, carefully wired through the back of an entertainment unit or on shelves, it’s a huge headache.

Try generating a QR code (free), assigning the online manual URL to it and sticking it in a corner of the unit where you can scan it easily. When you need the manual again, it’s easy to get right to it, or email the URL to your desktop and bookmark it (you can bookmark it on your phone as well). Now you know where all your user’s manuals are!

Theft protection

While your marking electronics for manual retrieval, put a code on the bottom of the unit with a link to your name and address in case of theft. Many pawnshops don’t check someone’s story of needing money for a cat’s whiskerectomy beyond the spoken pitch and noting their ID, which can be fake. When they discover the QR code and the link, it will be easier for them to return the merchandise to you and have the seller arrested. Most pawnshops are honest and bound by law, so a QR code will help you retrieve your property.

What’s in that box?

Do you have boxes and boxes of items stored in your basement or attic and wonder which box has an item you need right away? How long would it take you to open and search every box? Chances are, it’ll be in the last box you open and search.

If you take a few photos of what’s in each box, create an album on Flikr and tie a QR code to it, with the code pasted on the outside of the box, you can scan and discover in a matter of minutes just by looking through the photo album.

Book ‘em!

If you have a collection of great books, there are several things you already know. The first is you don’t want to mark up a book by writing your name in it (those personalized seals presses don’t work that well on hardcover books) and the second thing is that friends will want to borrow those books and then forget that they borrowed them from you.

Generate a QR code linked to a video of you making fun threats to those who borrow books and don’t return them and place it on a cool bookmark that stays with the book.

If you really want to protect your library, make a video of the person borrowing the book, swearing to return it and store the video URL in a computer folder. Delete it when they bring it back.

Greeting cards with personality

Sure, you can spend an outrageous amount of money for one of those recordable greeting cards that give you 30 seconds of a garbled message, or you can pick up a two-for-a-dollar greeting cards, record a video of any length, link it via a QR code and glue it into a card. Personal, fun, and not a bloody fortune (plus the recordable cards cost extra postage).

Messages for the family

Do you leave notes for your kids? They don’t read them, do they? Forget the kitchen whiteboard and step into the world of technology that the kids will understand, and put a QR code into their lunch box linked to a video telling them what they need to do that day. Sounds silly and time consuming? Trust me… it’s 100% effective.

Delicious codes

If you create a QR coded recipe book of your favorite meals, you can share them easily when someone begs your recipe for some delicious meal. Remember, most people are sitting at the table; texting on their phones, so scanning the QR code will be easy!

These are just a few ideas for QR codes at home. With a little imagination and immediate needs that have to be fulfilled via technology, you can make life a little easier and a lot more fun!

Image credit: QR Code Hotel Room by Antoine Peters

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