QR codes enable a quick and easy contactless payment via smartphone.
QR codes enable a quick and easy contactless payment via smartphone.

‘Just scratching the surface’, QR codes set to explode

QR CODES have become a staple of the coronavirus pandemic and the dining out experience but experts say it is on the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what the technology can do.

QR codes enable phones to connect to online information by scanning the black and white code via phone or another mobile device.

Doctor Vinh Bui, IT lecturer, Southern Cross University said QR codes bridged the gap between humans and computers.

"We need to use these encoding mechanisms because computers have not been able to 'see' and process human-readable information very well."

UTS Business School Senior Lecturer in marketing, Ofer Mintz said that QR code usage in Asia and Africa showed how the technology could be used in Australia going forward.

"In Far Eastern countries such as China and Korea, QR codes are used on everyday basis for all sorts of different issues, you can buy products from a grocery store while waiting on a train in Korea, one of the biggest brands Tesco has a virtual supermarket, you can scan a QR code and they'll ship it to your house.

"A lot of companies are using it as a trigger to move to the next step, it allows companies to do a little more virtual reality … based on the starting point of scanning a QR code."

Even with this advanced usage in Asia, both experts agreed that the technology could do much more in the future.

"It is purely up to our imagination," Dr Vinh Bui said.

"We've really only scratched the surface, I think it's basically an enabler of future technology, it's an way for medical to get you to scan something and fill out information … or we see it in third world countries in agriculture where people scan them to check authenticity."

Mr Mintz predicted that Australia will see an uptake in QR code usage going forward but still at a lower level compared to other developed nations.

"I don't see the adoption rate being as much as it is in the Far East, so yes there'll be opportunities, yes we'll see more customers using it but there is still initial gut feel of customer disliking it in a way … so that will stop it from proliferating as much."