He’s Dubious About QR Codes

Will QR codes be “here today, gone today”? The IT coordinator at one U.S. radio group owner says the codes might be on their way out already, at least based on his experience. 

Larry Foltran is corporate website and information technology coordinator for Crawford Broadcasting. He writes in the company’s engineering newsletter: “All indications are there that the QR code is heading into its cyber sunset.”

Quick Response Codes are those graphics that can be read by a smartphone’s camera and link users to a website. As Foltran states, “In the most basic terms, it’s a barcode for the general population.” Although the codes only recently came into the public eye in some markets, they’ve actually been around since the 1990s.

But now Foltran writes that the codes haven’t caught on as he’d expected even a year ago.

“There is a good chance that they will slowly disappear. The primary reason is that most people don’t even know what they are. As I began rolling out QR codes for our company’s mobile sites to staff members, I found that people had seen other examples on printed materials, but had no idea what they were. Quite plainly, if you don’t know what it is … you most likely won’t use it.”

Also, he said, code readers are third-party applications. “Unless they are included as base functionality in new smartphones, many users simply won’t bother downloading and installing these apps.”

Foltran also says users have realized that a code typically points to an advertisement. “In most instances, users won’t even bother scanning them because they know they will be using their precious mobile data bandwidth to view an ad.”

And, he says, there are security implications. As RW too has reported, malware and security issues are expected to become bigger problems for smartphone users in future, Foltran wrote: “The direct content link provided by the QR code simply makes it too much of a risk.”


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