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QR codes are everywhere, on posters, in magazines. You read them with your smartphone and get a specific URL. This URL sends you to a web page. This page in turn, provides you with detailed information on the product represented by this QR code. In this blog we talk about the world of QR codes, their use and their history.

For example, this QR code sends you to the Home page of the Nurideas website.

QRcode Nurideas

Here is another image that shows you how QR codes are not just black and white!

QRCode Nurideas color

How do you read the QR codes?

In addition to a text, you can insert an image and encode inside the QR code much more information than a simple URL.

QRcode Patricia

In this case, to read it you have to use a specific app that will decode it and act accordingly.

This is what happens when you connect to some sites that use a QR code for security reasons. For example the SPID system in Italy, or when you buy a ticket for a train or an event, on which a QR code is present.

QR codes are convenient. They can contain a lot of information and at the same time be printed in small dimensions. You then view and decode them via the screen of your smartphone.

They are used in a wide range of sectors, from production, to warehouse logistics, to health care, etc.

The GS1 standard

The GS1 (Global Standards 1) has established a standard for the use of QR codes in the production process. This standard helps to track products and provides information along the way to the final receiving point (https://www.gs1.org/barcodes/2D).

The information must be encoded in a specific format, using the GS1 application identifiers.

For example the code below encodes the following text:


QRCode GS1

The identifiers of the GS1 application are the numbers in parentheses. A complete list of identifiers is available in the guidelines.

Following is the explanation of the numbers used in this QR code.

application identifierfollowed by
(10)batch or lot number
(11)production date
(13)packaging date
(15)expiration date
(422)code of country of origin – 380 is Italy's code

History of QR codes

Did you know? QR code is the abbreviation for Quick Response Code. QR codes are two-dimensional barcodes (matrix barcodes). The Japanese company Denso Wave invented them 1994 for the automotive industry in Japan. They own the patent.

Their aim was to track parts and vehicles during production in an automated and fast way.

Denso Wave licenses free of charge the QR code technology on condition that users follow the expected standards.

Useful links

To conclude, here are some links to get more information.

  1. Explanations on the GS1 data matrix
  2. Guidelines for the GS1 data matrix
  1. The Wikipedia page on QR codes contains detailed information in the English version