For many years, companies have been trying to make QR code look cool.
Right from device manufacturers to the advertising agencies, they all have been many (creative) attempts to get QR code to mainstream audience.
But then, most of them actually failed miserably (especially in India), even though most of the devices supported QR code readers (apps).
But then, something happened in 2016 and well, QR code is in fashion now (even govt is launching BharatQR).
The company that actually brought back QR code to mainstream? I believe, Paytm*. Thanks to demonetisation, everybody started using Paytm (there was NO alternative) and shopkeepers were (almost) forced to display their Paytm QR code for a swift transaction.
Nobody called it QR code but just “yeh scan kar lo – aapke app main number aa jaayega” (kudos to Paytm for thinking through the use case and making the entire payment process very smooth).
Which brings me to an important point here : Can you ever force cool technology to the masses? Unless technology solves an instant pain (and the pain has to be a severe one) or makes one’s life super easy, it has an extremely limited audience.
Think of NFC (only Apple can make it useful).
Importantly, can we stop marketing technology products as technology products ?
And instead, let it find a place in people’s lives (and let them call it whatever they want to)? Unless it solves a pain or creates enormous comfort, it’ll just remain a thing to be talked in tech conferences.
What’s your take?
By the way, check out this very cool implementation of QR code by a museum in Poland.
PS : Of course, WhatsApp used QR code very effectively with web.whatsapp – but again, limited to a small audience and wasn’t a frequent use-case.