Crank Up Your QR Code Competency Score

Technology

Quick Response makes connecting beyond the conference floor easy

Quick Response (QR) code technology has been around for quite some time, but users may not realize that tucked away deep inside the pixelated square bar codes is more power than meets the naked eye. For meeting professionals, this mobile tool can elevate business productivity levels by making it easier to connect, tell stories and follow up. But use them carefully. Ready, set, scan!

Decoding Meetings

Imagine flipping through a magazine, a brochure or an event program and coming upon an article or an ad for a resort you’d like more information on. Instead of looking it up manually, wouldn’t it be a lot more efficient to scan a code that could take you on a virtual tour of the property or provide you with the specs of the meeting spaces?

Whenever you attend a conference, fam trip or any networking function, you collect stacks of business cards. You likely intend to manually enter all your new professional friends into your phone or computer contacts, but who has the time for that? Business cards containing a QR code are just one simple scan away from your contact list!

Presenters and exhibitors at conferences and trades shows can incorporate QR codes into presentations and booths to make following up easy. For instance, if you’re representing your brand on the exhibition floor and busy speaking to a client, you might not be available to also speak to each person who visits your station. A prospective customer can independently scan an item on display to find out the price and details, and make a purchase.

Conference presenters often scan badges for an accurate count of who is attending as attendees enter breakout sessions. This can help with planning for future years and tracking education units.

Beware of Hackers

Exercise extreme caution when sharing airline boarding passes on social media. QR codes on boarding passes contain a lot of personal information. Tech-savvy hackers can read the bar code with special apps and get instant access to your airline account and more. According to Krebs on Security blogger Brian Krebs, boarding pass QR codes share such info as your name, frequent-flyer number and future travel plans connected to the account.

These bits of information, coupled with some social media snooping, are all a hacker needs to gain full access to tinker with your travel. Przemek Jaroszewski of Poland’s Computer Emergency Response Team developed an app that enables him to generate fake boarding pass QR codes to gain entry into exclusive airport lounges, according to Wired. For that reason, be careful not to leave your boarding pass out in plain sight or in the seatback pocket. Shredding the paper may be the safest way to dispose of it when your trip is complete.

Finally, before spontaneously scanning a barcode, make sure you can trust it’s from a reliable source. Hackers can post a code that leads you to malware instead of where you expect it to take you.

How to Redeem QR Codes

1. Do you take a picture of it? Nope, not quite.
2. Download one of many QR-code reader apps available for free from an app store.
3. Open the app and point the smartphone at QR code.
4. The app will automatically read the QR code; there’s no need to snap a photo.
5. Information contained within the QR code will appear.
6. Start scanning and exploring!