hand holding mobile phone that is scanning a qr code in a machine

Are QR Codes Coming Back?

Photo by Proxyclick Visitor Management System on Unsplash

Do you remember when QR codes seemed to be practically everywhere? You couldn’t walk down a street, pick up something in a supermarket, open a magazine, visit a festival or exhibition…well, you get the idea. Then suddenly, they disappeared in almost the same speed as they originally appeared.

Now, it seems that they’re making a quiet comeback – quiet until last week anyway.

Credit: Marc Amstoutz

Over 1,500 drones took to the skies above Shanghai’s waterfront to create a useable QR code as part of a light show by Chinese video-streaming company Bilibili to celebrate the first anniversary of the China release of the Japanese role-playing game Princess Connect! Re:Dive.

Reactions were mixed on social media where people alternated between being amazed at the company’s unique use of technology while others felt that it was too “sci-fi dystopian”.

Regardless of what you think, drone shows – and QR codes – like this are a regular occurance in China, where they’re used for everything from celebrations to announcements to advertisements.

Beyond the glitz of this marketing stunt – which could open more avenues for marketing campaigns that really push the envelope – it’s interesting to see that QR codes are actually making a comeback as a result of the pandemic.

Think about it: when was the last time you actually handled money or handed over your credit card to be swiped into a payment machine? Everyone these days – and yes, I mean both businesses and people – are opting increasingly more for “wireless” payments aka using smart watches or hovering your phone or card over a machine.

So it’s only natural that QR codes have their “renaissance” of sorts as we’ve all adapted to minimising contact – something I think will become permanent behaviour even once this is all over. I mean, it’s already a fact of life in China, why not in the rest of the world?

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