Although QR codes been around for a quarter of a century, it seems that most people in the USA still don’t know what they are and what they can do. To the naked eye they look like gibberish. But these machine-readable barcodes pack quite a punch: in a very small space, they can provide a wealth of information.
Back in the 2000s, QR codes were touted as “the next best thing!” for the marketing industry. But in the USA they’ve remained largely on the periphery of most mainstream marketing efforts for two main reasons. One, because they aren’t readily identifiable texts or pictures, people don’t quite know what to make of them. And two, the ability to decode QR codes has largely been locked up in dedicated applications that people often don’t already have on their devices when they encounter the codes.
With the 2017 release of iOS 11, however, the QR code landscape dramatically changed when the Camera app started to include a built-in QR code scanner. In other words, iOS users no longer need to download special apps in order to read QR codes. This major development basically eliminates the “I don’t already have an app for this and I don’t want to spend time downloading it now” factor that makes people reluctant to engage with QR codes.