What is a QR Code?

These square-shaped matrices, such as the one here, are called QR codes. They are a new type of barcode designed to place large amounts of information into your hands via a mobile scanning device.

QR codes were invented in Japan in 1994 as a quicker way to store and scan large amounts of inventory information for the auto industry. They soon found expanded use in public life as Japanese cell phone manufacturers added the ability to decode QR codes for marketing and entertainment purposes.

In the United States, QR code growth has mirrored the rise of smartphone technology. Smartphones, equipped with QR scanning apps, have become our devices of choice for interacting with QR codes. These powerful, wireless, web-connected computing devices can quickly and easily scan QR codes, decode them, and use them to direct users to valuable content.

QR codes are a gateway to the mobile web.

Q What are you decoding?
A That depends. QR code technology allows for various uses, but its most popular—and preferred—use is for decoding web addresses.
Q Why not type in the web address?
A Speed and usability. Websites often use long, complex addresses, and are hard to type. Scanning a QR code takes only a second or two, and you're on your way.
Q What happens when I scan a QR code?
A Your smartphone recognizes the code contains a web address, opens your mobile browser, and takes you to the website.

Many website-coded QR codes take you to traditional websites like www.redpigeon.mobi or www.google.com. However, QR codes are not limited to static websites. They can link to all kinds of interactive content, such as photos, radio streams, videos, and social media. They can even take you directly to a smartphone app's download page.

QR codes can be printed anywhere. Put them on business cards, in books or magazines, on your letterhead and stationery, product packaging, stickers or labels, billboards, advertisements, and more. Beyond print, QR codes can be scanned from displays such as digital signage, electronic screens, digital picture frames, or projected images. You can put a QR code anywhere—period!

QR Codes are the way to bring people in from the analog world, directing them to exactly where you want them to go. The destination is an awesome, portable experience that only you can give.


And with industry-standard technology such as Google Analytics, you will know exactly what is going on when your users arrive at your site. Your return on investment is based on hard data, not by elusive guesses like friends, followers, likes, and re-tweets.

Red Pigeon specializes in highly-optimized, analytics-encoded, custom-branded QR code production.

Contact Red Pigeon now to get going on your mobile needs. Check out our products and services pages, or click the arrow below to learn more about the mobile web.

How do I scan a QR code?

To scan a QR code, you first need a smartphone with a camera and an app that can scan them. Some smartphones come with barcode apps or QR readers preinstalled, but most do not.

When your QR reader is installed, start it up and point it at a QR code. (On some apps, you may have to press a button or tap the screen.)

If all goes well, the phone will recognize the QR code and tell you what it is, whether a web address, phone number, or something else.

That's it! Happy scanning!