QR codes and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology both offer unique potential to developers and businesses. We can bring users to data, and allow them to transmit that data for a myriad of purposes and in ways that would have been impossible only a few years ago. Whether it is helping a user to get information about their current location, or getting a coupon for the product that they are planning to buy, the options are endless.
Business decision makers and developers must decide when it is the best time to use a QR code over Near Field Communications or vice versa.Taking time to make a well-informed decision and to do solid planning is critical for a successful implementation. While it must decided on a case-by-case basis, there are a few scenarios in which the QR code is the better choice. Creating paperless coupons is one of those situations. Why QR codes and coupons work together so well is worth exploring in greater detail…
Using QR codes is a fairly standard option on most phones. As long as a Smartphone has a camera, you’re in business. Since QR reader apps are common for all of the major mobile operating systems, users will have no problem getting what they need to scan your code. On the other hand, the use of Near Field Communications technology means having a piece of hardware, most commonly, a Near Field Communication RFID chip. The challenge being that an RFID would have to be in (or on) the phone in order for the system to work. This means either getting the chip built-in at the factory or convincing the end user to add an aftermarket attachment for their device.
Projects change over time. That is an inevitable part of the business and development worlds. There is an important difference between the two options when it comes to making changes: the amount of work involved in changing a QR code is significantly lower than with an RFID chip. Since the QR code stays at the site and the RFID chips stay with the end user, you will need to change a larger number of units in order to correct a Near Field Communications problem. Using QR codes for something with the limited timeline of a coupon simply makes better sense.
All technology has its limitations. In the case of QR code, the most important limitation is the small data capacity. Admittedly, it is not a large difference, but one that you should be aware of before making a recommendation to a superior, a colleague or a client. Another limitation is the ability to capture a good scan of a QR code in low light. NFC is the better choice in low lighting conditions.
Security is also a concern, as QR Codes can be easily copied. NFC is much more difficult to copy or duplicate, so it’s the better choice for secure applications like Google Wallet and credit card related apps.
The final consideration is the end user. In order for tracking with a QR code to be effective, users have to scan the code. An RFID uses a passive system that is always transmitting. So, if you need to track locations, or you want a presence vs. usage headcount, then you may want to break the rule, incur the extra expense and use the RFIDs.