Over the past year or so, you may have noticed square-shaped images resembling barcodes like the one above popping up in many places – on advertisements, product packaging, business cards, billboards and even TV commercials. These are QR (quick response) codes, and their function is to provide you with the fastest, easiest way to access websites, podcasts, videos and more via your smartphone. Downloading a QR scanner/reader app (either through your app store or one of many websites, such as reader.kaywa.com) will enable you to scan these codes using your phone’s camera, and connect you directly to the affiliated website, podcast, etc. Scanning the code at the top of this page will take you directly to our website, www.treeservicesmagazine.com. Try it!

While QR code technology is still gaining steam in the U.S., it has been widely used in Japan for years. QR codes were created in Japan in 1994 by Toyota subsidiary Denso-wave for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing. Once the infinite applications of this technology were recognized, it spread like wildfire. QR codes are plastered on everything in Japan – clothing price tags, posters in subway stations, McDonald’s hamburger wrappers, the sides of trucks, even on headstones in cemeteries.

Media and marketing agencies in the United States have begun to recognize the unlimited possibilities that QR codes offer in linking print and online content, and I anticipate their use will become widespread by the end of this year. And, you can expect to see them popping up frequently in future issues of Tree Services. We might offer a special discount from one of your favorite manufacturers or link to a new feature on our site, so have your smartphone ready to take advantage of these opportunities.

Consider incorporating QR codes into your marketing materials. You can get a code for free from myriad sources on the web (http://qrcode.kaywa.com, http://goqr.me/ and http://invx.com/, to name a few). Simply enter your web address, and these sites will generate a downloadable code that you can add to brochures, business cards, etc., giving your clients – and potential clients – instant access to your website.

Scan the code on the cover of this issue to hear more about QR code technology.

Katie Meyers