Ask the Board – February 3, 2020 | DOUG ANDERSON


“What technology will replace Quick Response (QR) codes in the future?”

If I had to choose a single technology, I would likely go with low-energy Bluetooth beacons. NFC is also a likely choice, but is limited to close-range activation, which is good for security and likely explains why NFC was chosen for financial transactions via smartphones. QR codes are currently experiencing a bit of a comeback as smartphone video analytics become more powerful. Also, new encoding schemes with color allow viewing up to 40 feet away and support dynamic URLs. We recently tested a version of this technology at Union Station for the sight impaired. The downside is that the smartphone battery will discharge more rapidly and the user must be directing the phone camera’s line of sight to the code. Beacon activation, on the other hand, is automatic and doesn’t require user intervention.

The real benefit of QR technology, for the time being, is that no electronics are required and batteries needn’t be replaced although the new wave of RF-powered beacon stickers, if successful, will solve this issue as well.

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Senior Director – Information Technology
LA Metro Transit

End User Council

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