Quick Response (QR) codes, Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, and barcodes are all data management systems used to transfer large amounts of information in a small format. Although they all provide the same overall function, there are varying differences between the three systems and the purposes for which they were designed.
The Quick Response (QR) Code is the trademark for a type of two-dimensional barcode. They are composed of a series of black and white squares, and are typically scanned by a QR Code reader on a smartphone for users to access a particular URL or other information that it links to.
The most notable benefit of QR codes are their ease of use. They can be added to anything, be it a flyer, a poster, or a business card. They also have a range of uses, and can extend a user’s experience by rewarding them for scanning the code. For example, the code can give them access to a microsite with a special promotion on it. QR codes are designed to reward users beyond what they may ordinarily be able to find online or on social channels.
QR codes are useful for marketers who can gain valuable insight into user behavior and how their marketing efforts are working (or not). By using web analytics and unique codes, QR codes and their users are trackable, which can help businesses make better marketing decisions. Furthermore, they are cost-effective, and can help to keep marketing costs low.
Near Field Communication (NFC) tags, also known as smart tags, are a short-range wireless technology that allows information to be conveyed by simply touching two devices together. NFC fields are used in a number of applications, including the London Oyster transport card; embedding a smart tag into a flyer, which is tapped to reveal a website to the user with further information; and tap payments, which has gained much traction in recent years.
Smart tags tend to be easier and more convenient to use than QR codes, as they simply require a touch, rather than an app to scan a barcode and wait for an analysis. Furthermore, they offer more flexibility, and they can complete complex transactions quickly.
However, the ease of use and simplicity of NFC tags opens up the system to potential security issues and any use of the system requires security features to prevent eavesdropping devices from stealing data.
A barcode is a ‘machine-readable code in the form of numbers and a pattern of parallel lines of varying widths, printed on and identifying a product.’ They have been around for decades, and you likely have seen them on packaging in the supermarket, or on the labels of clothes in retails stores.
They are commonly used in shipping and to manage and track large amounts of items efficiently. They are widely used because to their versatility, their cost-effectiveness, and their assistance in driving speed and efficiency.
Despite all being designed to serve the same function - the transfer of data - the question as to which system to use is largely dependent on the needs of the business, circumstance, and budget.
Barcodes are good for managing large numbers of items in manufacturing industries, but they are limited in their ability to offer a user a good user experience.
NFC tags tend to be faster and easier to use, and despite the need to prevent eavesdropping devices from stealing data, they offer more secure transactions and options, which is why companies such as VISA use them for payments.
QR tags presently have a wider user-base as there are more phones that have the functionality to read QR codes than those that can read NFC tags. However, NFC tags are increasing in popularity, so the gap will narrow.
While the best asset management technology for your specific business may vary, the cost and ease of implementing data managements systems make any a good solution for day-to-day business operations.
For more information on all three types of data management systems visit:
Anyone who has ever had problems with their computer knows how frustrating troubleshooting can be. Computer crashes, program freezing, bugs, viruses, and more have plagued the computer user since the invention of the machine. While every subsequent generation gets more familiar and savvy with troubleshooting and diagnosing computational problems, the software and hardware continues to get more advanced and complicated.
As a result, the average user does not even know where to begin when a problem arises. Even tech giants like Apple have not found a practical way to allow average users to troubleshoot and solve software, compatibility, and other issues that plague computers. However, a new innovation may put an end to the hours of online scouring and headaches associated with software troubleshooting, at least for Windows users...
(Image: Imgur / Microsoft)
An infamous sight among computer users, the blue screen of death on Windows has annoyed and frustrated computer users for many years. Not only does the blue screen of death signify that your PC is crashing, it adds to the annoyance by showing cryptic, high- level computer coding to explain the problem that even a NASA scientist with a PHD in Computer Engineering would have trouble understanding.
The kind of frustration users experience as a result of this blue screen of death is what has given it such an infamous reputation. Now however, a new innovation has technology enthusiasts and users rejoicing. That is because Windows 10 is looking to implement a QR code to accompany crashes that offer more extensive information about the error.
These QR codes Microsoft are working on implementing will be able to provide an impressive amount of information to the user. The currently developed software has the scanned QR code take the user to a windows website specifically designed to interpret the error codes generated in the QR code. There, a user can look at a wide range of some common causes for their error. These QR codes allow for Microsoft, as well as the user to cut down on unnecessary online research, allowing for a faster pinpoint of whatever is causing the problem.
The new tool can even help IT technicians as well. Now that a user can simply scan a QR code to get an understanding of the root problem, even the most inexperienced user can provide IT technicians and professionals with enough information to quickly locate and fix the issue.
See more about Microsoft’s move into QR codes here: http://wccftech.com/microsoft-adds-qr-codes-to-windows-10-bsod
While QR codes are far from new, the way that Windows is utilizing them is nothing short of an innovation. This move by Microsoft has certainly stoked the imagination of many, having them wonder just how else QR codes can be used to make a system easier and more efficient.
The future of QR codes promises to be an exciting one. These tags are a quick and easy way to relay information to consumers. QR codes can be used in any industry. Imagine restaurant menus with QR codes to give you the nutritional information, visuals, and specific customer reviews for the dish. These codes could also be used by nurses and doctors, as a simple code could contain the entire medical history of a patient, making for an easier diagnosis.
QR and barcodes can even be linked to GPS systems in order to allow a product to be easily found. Imagine uploading a shopping list to your phone, then the phone mapping out the most efficient path to each item. This also prevents going to a store that is currently out of a specific brand or product you are looking for.
The potential for these codes are limitless. Even now QR codes are being used to help businesses effectively and affordably track assets, count inventory, and check the status of shipped items. They are also used in event management, human resources, safety control, supply chain, and so much more.
Learn more about QR and barcodes impact on business and industry here: http://www.mapyourtag.com/
When small start-up businesses look to track their assets simply and cheaply, many of them turn to Excel spreadsheets as a solution. Microsoft Office doesn’t cost much; and most company laptops have that software preinstalled. As Excel is universal and relatively easy to use, even the most junior team member can figure out how to input data into a spreadsheet. But that’s where the pros end and the cons begin. Eventually, the low cost and simplicity will hit a wall when the spreadsheet fails to keep up with business growth. Don’t get us wrong, spreadsheets are great for metrics and analytics, but as technology evolved, they are just not the best tool anymore for tracking inventory, monitoring stock levels, or locating assets!
As companies experience it, using a spreadsheet to track stock levels can be a tedious and overly manual process. Not only the spreadsheet has to be manually updated every time that a sale or a purchase is made but even with the most recent improvements, collaboration or multi-user access to a spreadsheet always comes with a risk of losing data. It’s a very simple: most processes that require the use of excel as a database with a human resource to input the data are nowadays obsolete. A human resource hired to do at a slow pace what a tool can do as fast as the click of a button, with many more features is not productive and represent a huge waste of time and money for your company.
Using Excel requires a human being for data input, and when volume increase, human resources have to be increased accordingly, basically: you’re not scalable. New technologies allow asset management to be handled at low volume or high volume the same way, with the same costs. Now that new technologies bring new tools to the table, the use of spreadsheets becomes obsolete for process optimization.
More often than not, the spreadsheet method of asset management leads to an increase in manpower, wasted time, increases in stress across the team and human error. Even if using Excel seems to be an easy way to avoid paying for a service, think about how much the employee that takes care of the spreadsheet will cost. And as mentioned before, when volume increase, human resources have to increase with it, so does the cost. Using spreadsheets seems cheap at first sight but its manpower requirement makes it the most expensive method.
Every successful small and medium business keeps its eye on the bottom line. Your company's assets are a valuable and critical part of ongoing operations, no matter what business you're in. As your company grows and more assets are needed, it's not easy to keep track of them without a system designed for this task. One of the best methods for keeping track of inventory is asset-tracking.
An asset tracking system consists of four parts: desktop software, a smart phone with an app, a barcode reader and barcode labels. The right mobile app will allow the system to work at optimal levels for your company.
With the use of bar-code tracking, a company can know at a glance where a particular computer, phone, file or any other movable asset has been stationed. Every time it is moved, it can be scanned and relocated on a map.
Unfortunately, theft and loss are serious concerns these days even in small and medium businesses. Theft/loss of company assets would be greatly reduced if employees and customers are aware that every items has been tracked as to its last location. Furthermore, real-time reports of their locations can be generated at any time a theft or a loss has been suspected. Quickly noticing that something is missing will increase the chances of recovery.
These are just some of the things that can be tracked with this system:
Check with your business' insurance company. They may give a discount to companies that use this type of responsible asset tracking.
The whereabouts of security guards, quality control managers, and maintenance personnel can be critically important when something goes wrong in a company. Badges can be scanned when trouble-shooting personnel move from one location to another. If they are needed quickly, a glance at the map will show the location of the nearest employee.
Having just this one critical piece of information at your fingertips at the moment of an emergency can result in a faster response time and less harm to life and property.
Knowing the flow of materials may be critical to your business. If you deal with perishable or consumable items, such as food, this is particularly important. You'll want to know the time the items arrive, where they were stored and when they were used or shipped out. The task of keeping track of moving inventory can be difficult, and even more so if your company has more than one location or out-building storage.
If you deal with medical drugs, managing your inventory could be a life and death matter and it would be in your best interest to invest in asset tracking. Not only could you fulfill governmental requirements for reporting the drugs, you could monitor their movement from the time they are delivered to your facility to the time and location they are administered.
Capturing and storing this type of data with an asset tracking system may protect you from legal problems down the road.
If your company is involved in receiving, packing and shipping, then asset tracking will improve accuracy and customer's reviews of your company and products.
These uses above are only a sampling of the ways that asset tracking can benefit small and medium businesses. The versatility of this system is limited only by the imagination of those who have access to it. On many levels, it's a wise business move to invest in asset tracking.