Soon, typing in a web address to access information is going to seem obsolete. Quick Response (QR) codes, those square barcodes readable by smartphones and webcams, are increasingly being used across campus to provide information in seconds. Scanning the QR code with a smartphone or webcam connects directly to a webpage, text, video or geographic coordinate.
Already, QR codes are posted at Penn Transit stops, allowing riders to find out when the bus will arrive. The codes even let riders know if there are any seats available.
“With the QR codes, riders can better plan their schedules,” says Marie Witt, vice president for the Business Services Division (BSD). “They get all the information they need, instantly.”
At freshman move-in, Penn staff members were human hyperlinks, wearing t-shirts printed with QR codes to provide helpful information to students and parents on the spot. “Need help? Scan me,” the shirts read.
The QR codes printed on the t-shirts linked to websites showing a campus map, a list of campus events and information about New Student Orientation. To help families navigate Philadelphia, one of the codes also linked to a guide of the city’s attractions and restaurants.
“Our housing staff wanted the unique look of the shirts to make a good first impression, as well as be informative,” says Ilene Wilder, director of marketing and business development for the BSD.
Alumni Relations has been using QR codes in ads published in the Gazette and in brochures to link alumni interested in participating in Homecoming Weekend or Alumni Weekend to the Alumni website, where they can register for events.
In addition, the Penn Bookstore’s newspaper ads now include QR codes linking consumers to more information about special sales and appearances by authors.
Originally published on September 29, 2011