In Defence of QR Codes

It’s generally agreed upon that QR codes suck.

qr code
QR codes can be used for good, not just an inconvenient way of typing URLs.

Of the forums I frequent, many commenters opine the view that they suck and should no longer be used. There are even [tumblrs dedicated to doing this](

Whilst I agree with the vast majority, I do think that QR codes do have their place, it’s just that their place is not sending people to websites ([especially if they’re already on that website](

Whilst working at Antena TV we devised a solution to the inventory problem. The girl looking after the camera kits, sound kits, stands and booms would quickly lose track of who had what. Kit would disappear, then randomly reappear with no inkling of who had used it. This was a problem, and she quickly needed a solution.

I already had an idea of an app to keep tabs on it all, but sitting down to check boxes on a screen was not the most efficient way of recording an item being checked out. My then IT manager Simon Beech suggested we use QR codes on each item, and use the company iPhones to scan them.

And it worked out pretty well!

I built a simple CRUD app on CodeIgniter. The main feature was the check in/out. Each piece of kit had an URL which toggled it’s in/out status, who was doing the checking and the timestamp. All phones installed a QR reader and the staff briefed on how to use it.

So the whole inventory could be checked at a glance on a phone or computer. We knew if an item was in or out, and who had done the checking in/out.

The girl in charge of inventory was thrilled. It wasn’t as popular with the crew – they now had to up their accountability levels.