Digital menus, product packaging, tickets, and identification – QR Codes seem everywhere now. Once an overlooked, clunky technology, QR Codes have had a recent resurgence. Thanks to COVID-19 and advancements in our mobile devices, QR adoption has gone mainstream in only a few short years. And even though global QR Code scans increased by 443% in 2022, we are still only scratching the surface of harnessing the true power and business augmentation that they provide.
If we think back to the inception of QR Codes, invented by Denso Wave in 1994, the original problem that led to this invention was that the Toyota subsidiary needed a more accurate way to track vehicles and parts during the manufacturing process. QR codes solved that problem. But they were still a little ahead of their time. The internet, mobile devices, and apps were just distant dreams. Only with these technological advances will the full potential of QR Codes be realized. Today, the combination of this new technology with QR codes provides limitless potential for frictionless asset management solutions. While many applications have emerged to tackle a wide variety of QR Code-powered use cases, when used correctly, QR Codes provide a superior asset management experience around initiating, tracking, managing and enabling enterprise supply chains in diverse industries.
Controlling QR “State”
One of the features that QR Codes offer is immense versatility. With this inherent level of flexibility comes more possible applications and use cases. It’s important to see through the “QR Noise” and identify areas where QR Codes truly add value and are not a marketing gimmick—tracking assets and enabling supply chains is just that—an area where QR Code technology provides a well-positioned foundation to build robust solutions, enabling key stakeholders to have timely information as assets flow through their supply chain. When it comes to an asset moving through a supply chain, whether that’s an automobile part, router, soil sample, or medical instruments tray, there are common themes. First, security and authentication – who will be able to access the information stored on that QR code? How will the security be enforced? Will there be different roles or access delegation? Does the asset’s status, quantity, location, condition, and value change over its life? These are all relevant questions that Openscreen can help solve and manage when using our platform to automate and enable your supply chain. While we are all familiar with the QR code that scans to a website, in many cases a QR code may be needed but the data, workflow, or destination may not be known. Openscreen’s platform can create “inactive” QRs, which can be appended to any asset. Once the data or workflows are defined, the QR code is simply scanned to initiate it and registered as active. All subsequent scans would follow the programmed workflows. Openscreen’s ability to change the status and workflow of a QR code as it moves through your supply chain facilitates the creation of powerful tracking enablement solutions. And our flexibility makes it easy to rapidly integrate this functionality into your mission-critical supply chain processes.
Controlling QR “View”
One of the biggest challenges with robust tracking applications is mobility and internet connectivity. Without an internet connection, many platforms fail. Openscreen Track is a solution that allows you to capture data without a live internet connection and then post that data when a connection is available. Openscreen Track can also create access restrictions that control who can access which data points. A manufacturer, vendor, or customer scanning the same QR code would have different permissions, workflows, and ultimately end views. To illustrate this point further, take an automobile part as an example. As it passes through its lifecycle from manufacturing to a final consumer, the company’s authenticated users will want to see and access different pieces of information than what will be relevant to consumers and the public. Openscreen Track makes this level of dual visibility possible and easy.
It’s Not ALL About the QR
As our CTO reminds our team and our clients, “The QR Code is just the front door in.” What does he mean exactly by this? Well, QR Codes are a great entry point for causing a specific intent to occur, i.e., bringing a user to a specific URL or website, but that’s just the beginning; it’s the logic, foundation, and set of valuable microservices built behind the QR that really allow the magic to happen. The Openscreen platform has been built as a developer-first platform and has been architected with 5 core objects (Scans, Assets, QR Codes, Messages, & Contacts). These building blocks can be rapidly stitched together to enable powerful tracking solutions for enterprises. Nuvolinq, an IoT service provider, uses Openscreen’s QR platform to track, manage, and submit service calls for their routers. The QR code used by support staff to register a router is the same QR code used by customers to submit a trouble ticket. The workflows change, but the QR code remains constant. From sending a message to specific contacts upon a QR scan to triggering a status change from “inactive” to “active”, sending and receiving goods, transferring ownership, and changing data points, Openscreen’s Track solution can help businesses enable their supply chains quickly while reducing costs, automating mission-critical processes, and putting valuable business insights at management’s fingertips. Try it today for free at www.openscreen.com or reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more!