Technology January 15, 2020
How QR Codes Have Grown In India And The World
The use of QR codes has developed in leaps and bounds since it was first developed in the mid-90s.
Today, QR codes are used in almost every sector. From marketing and education to helping people with different abilities, QR Codes are ubiquitous.
The advancement in its technology allows you to easily create a QR code and link it with any information you’d like the user to have. All you have to do is select one of the best QR code generators to create the code.
Most websites have an in-built landing page builder that allows you to redirect the users to a site, image gallery, PDF, audio clip, navigational directions, and more.
In India, however, QR codes rose to popularity only recently for digital payments. Payment apps like PayTM and Bharat QR gave the Indian citizens a convenient method to make payments at stores or even to pay their utility bills. Since then, the government and private organizations have discovered innovative ways to make use of QR codes to help people.
How Are QR Codes Used In India
To Engage Students
To make learning a more interactive and fun experience for students, the Department of State Education Research and Training (DSERT) includes QR codes in NCERT textbooks. These QR codes are printed along with the relevant text. When scanned, it gives the students access to additional learning material like video tutorials, images, maps, audio clips, worksheets, and more.
To Educate Others About Trees
QR codes are being placed on trees by volunteers to educate others about the value of trees. One such example is when the botany students of PB Siddhartha College of Arts and Sciences in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh, took the initiative to place QR codes on trees within their campus to spread awareness about the importance of trees. Another such effort was undertaken by Dr. Smitha Hegde hailing from Mangalore, Karnataka. She, along with her students, placed QR codes on trees around the city that educated the public about the value of each tree. In both cases, the QR codes would redirect the users to a landing page that gave them information about the trees like its general and scientific name, age of the tree, its medicinal value, or about its history/origin.
To Ensure Safety
An app called HimmatPlus was launched by the Police Department in Delhi in an initiative to make commuting via public transport safer, especially for women. How this works is – auto-rickshaw and public taxi drivers were assigned unique QR codes that they place behind their seat, where it’s visible to the commuter. The commuter can scan this QR code using the HimmatPlus app to access details about the driver and vehicle. If the commuter at any point feels unsafe, they can call for help through the app, and the police can track the journey in real-time through the app as well.
Another initiative was taken by an enterprise resource planning and web solutions firm that developed an app – ‘Gateway to School’ to ensure the safety of school children. How this works is – any parent entering the school will have to scan the QR code that has their digital ID attached. So this way the school can keep a digital track on anybody entering the school and only parents of the children enter the premises. The app also creates an exit QR code for the parent on the app when they exit the school premises.
For Digital Payments
Cashless payments have become very popular in India with apps like PayTM and Bharat QR. It picked up steam during the time of Demonetisation in India. It presented itself as the most convenient mode of transaction. Merchants and stores without POS systems all readily accepted cashless payments, and the public did the same as well. Today, most stores in India allow their customers to pay via UPI.
For Ticketing Purposes
Delhi and Noida Metro allows its commuters to pay digitally using a QR code. Even in Ahmedabad, bus commuters have to simp[y scan the QR code generated on the Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) app to pay for their ride.
BookMyShow allows its users to scan the QR code generated on the app to enter the cinemas, removing the need to print the movie tickets.
For Official Identification Of Residents
The official identification document – Aadhar card, issued by the Government of India includes a QR code that stores information about the Aadhar card holder like their name, address, date of birth, and the father’s name.
The use of QR codes in India has come a long way. But more innovative applications are being discovered as well. Many of the use-cases are inspired by other countries as well. For example, the concept of scanning QR codes to make payments first became popular in China through apps like WeChat and Alipay. Similarly, we are now seeing innovative uses of QR all over the world. One such example is to make things more accessible for individuals with vision impairment and blindness by using QR codes.
How QR Codes Are Helping Individuals With Vision Impairment And Blindness Around The World
Several initiatives have been launched to help individuals with vision impairment and blindness across different countries. Using QR codes to activate audio navigational directions or audio of bus routes at bus stations are some examples. The goal of such initiatives is to try things more accessible to individuals with vision impairment and blindness.
Let’s take a look at such similar initiatives around the world:
Navigational QR Codes At Subway Stations In Tokyo, Japan
In an attempt to make the subway more accessible for individuals with vision impairment and blindness, Tokyo Metro is experimenting with audio QR codes for navigation. Stickers with QR codes on them are stuck on the tactile walking surface indicators used by individuals with vision impairment and blindness to get a sense of their way around the subway. When the QR code on this sticker is scanned using a smartphone, they’ll immediately receive audio directions using which they can easily find their way around the station.
These QR coded stickers are stuck on raised tiles around the stairs, turning points, or walls that alert individuals with vision impairment and blindness about the obstacles ahead. This enables them to walk around the subway station with more ease and help them have a safer and convenient journey.
Colourful Navigational QR Codes At Bus Stations In Barcelona, Spain
The Public Transport Operator in Barcelona has come up with an initiative to help individuals with vision impairment and blindness go around the city with more ease. These QR codes are designed by the Mobile Vision Research Lab of the University of Alicante in collaboration with a startup in Spain – NaviLens. When scanned, these QR codes alert and communicate with individuals in real-time. The QR codes can be designed to give warnings such as steep stairs or suggest the best way to enter the subway.
The smartphone vibrates when it automatically detects a QR code and alerts the individual who can then play the alert message with a flick of a wrist. Not just that, these QR codes are designed in such a way that the camera can read the QR codes from at least 15m away. These QR codes help individuals with visual impairment and blindness to go around the city with much ease and have a smoother journey.
A similar initiative can also be seen at bus stations in the city of Donostia, Spain.
QR Codes That Give Real-time Bus Stop Timetables At Antwerp, Belgium
To help individuals with vision impairment, QR codes are placed next to bus stations that give real-time information about bus schedules and routes. When the individual scans the QR code, they can easily read the information in a large font or hear the instructions on their smartphone. This initiative was taken by an organization called NoisyVision to help individuals with vision impairment get around the city with more ease.
A German Restaurant That Offers An Audio QR For Their Menu
To help customers with vision impairment and blindness access the menu with ease, a restaurant in Germany replaced its menu in Braille with an audio QR. When scanned, the customer can access the audio version of the menu and quickly decide what they want to order.
Such initiatives help individuals with disabilities feel more included and give them better access. It not only helps them get around but also makes them feel more independent and confident. Similar usage of QR codes is already seen at Delhi University’s Miranda House. Audio navigational QR codes are placed around the campus to help students with VI and blindness get around with ease. When scanned, their smartphone will give our audio instructions about their current location and how to get from point A to point B within the campus.
Across the globe, organizations are coming up with innovative uses of QR codes to make the world more accessible to individuals with disabilities.
This is a sponsored article.
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