For those that don't know, a QR code is a 'Quick Response' code that takes advantage of the boom in smartphones. Think of it as a traditional bar code on steroids. A QR code basically leads the user to additional information on a product or service. In a recent Wall Street Journal article 32% of consumers said they've used a QR code; 70% plan to use a QR code again or for the first time; 52% say they use it to get more information; and, 53% say they use it to get a coupon, discount or deal.
WSJ.com describes a simple example of how a QR code is used in the private sector. A small coffee company put codes in its train ads. When customers scan the little squares with their smartphone cameras, a coffee menu pops up on their screens. Then they can order a cup of coffee on the train and have it waiting when they arrive at the coffee shop. According to Chief Exec Lloyd Bernhardt, "business has doubled and we catch people who are on the go and don't have a lot of time."
How could local government use QR codes to better serve citizens? Here are some ideas:
- Place a QR code on all planning notices, building permits and related forms
- Place a QR code on all court notices, tickets, jury notices and related forms
- Place a QR code on all property tax mailings including the actual tax bill
- Place a QR code on trash bins linking to the recycling calendar, special pick ups and related information
- Place a QR code on voting information so a voter could scan a code to get more information on candidates and issues, where to go vote and how to get a vote by mail ballot
- Place a QR code at historic sites, points of interest and other tourist destinations so visitors could access audio information
There are certainly other ways local governments could use QR codes. With the prevalence of smartphones this technology could reach vast numbers of constituents and greatly improve information distribution and positively impact the bottom line.
In what other ways can government use QR codes?
Share your ideas - send us a comment.
(Here is a sample QR Code for this blog's URL)