We’ve all seen the strange black squares that are constantly being photographed by smartphone users. They’re called QR codes, an innovative re-imagining of barcode technology. Originally used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, these codes are now used in a much larger context. The application of QR codes is even finding new life in creative business ventures and interactive advertising.What is a QR Code? A QR, or Quick Response code, is a distinct matrix barcode which is readable by specialized scanners and, more generally, smartphones. Because QR codes are two-dimensional constructs, they can hold thousands of alphanumeric characters of information much like the traditional barcode found on most purchased products. They are practical tools for business because of their ability to hold huge amounts of easily translatable information. When you scan or read a QR code with your smartphone, the code links you to web-enabled digital content. Much like when a barcode is scanned to generate the price of a given item in a food store, in a much more complicated way, when a QR code is scanned, increased numbers of information can then be generated. How are QR codes used in Business? Making a QR code is simple. It’s a simple process of entering the appropriate data into a QR generator. There are several free versions of this code online, if you’d like to check one out try using the Kaywa generator. After you’ve created your QR code, you are able to print it on business cards, posters, billboards, or distribute it on the web. Once the code is available, prospective customers are able to scan the code using their phone and then access whatever data you would like them to see. Why it works Creating a QR code is a unique way of creating an interactive ad campaign. You give the mysterious code to the audience; the audience deciphers the code and is then rewarded with the information you’ve coded. It adds value to that information by making it a fun activity. Though QR codes remain new to America, they have been a popular strategy for creating brand loyalty in Japan for over a decade. If you’re looking to generate a conversation with your prospective clients, consider using this innovative device.