QR codes have been around since the 1990s, more specifically in 1994, and were first designed for the automotive industry in Japan as an evolution of traditional barcodes. Despite having been created 35 years ago, only a decade ago they have achieved some notoriety and have managed to enter our daily lives.
Thanks to the evolution of technologies and the increased use of smartphones, their full potential has been rescued and they are getting more out of it. Well, QR or quick response technology is used to store information of any kind and its growing popularity is due to the ease of use.
Market players can generate them for free and choose the information that will go inside the code. People only need a cell phone with a camera and an application that has the functionality to read them. In this way, there are many benefits for both parties, since it is a fast, secure, practical and easy-to-use channel that, among other things, allows secure and remote transactions to be carried out.
In the Dominican Republic, QR codes began to be used in mid-2010, and the financial sector was one of the pioneers in incorporating them into its transactional systems, in order to provide its users with a simpler tool for making payments for products and services.
Grupo Popular, through AZUL; the FinTech GCS Dominicana; the technology and financial company Tivo Business; the financial services company Yoyo; BanReservas, through its service Seguros Reserva Popular; among others, have launched this new functionality among its digital services, allowing its customers to make their financial transactions from their cell phones, just by scanning the QR code and avoiding contact.
This rapid development of these strategies has made companies in other sectors want to implement them as payment methods.
Since the government of the Dominican Republic approved the opening of the gastronomic sector, which has approximately 5,436 establishments, this industry began to incorporate the QR code in their services. An example of this has been the “QR digital menus”.
The digitization of the menu has been a solution for restaurants, which were affected by the restrictions caused by covid-19 and had to adapt to sanitary measures and protocols to provide greater security to their customers. In that sense, with the QR code technology and the digital menu, customers were prevented from coming into physical contact with the printed menus, providing a more hygienic solution for restaurants, hotels and all types of premises in this area.
Another great advantage of digital menus over printed menus is the possibility of changing, adding or deleting, at no cost, the menu. Paper menus tend to become obsolete too often or even several versions of the menu are necessary to meet the needs of the local offer depending on seasons or even schedules. The QR digital menu can be modified over and over again at no cost and remain updated to the needs or demand of customers.
In turn, the tourism industry in our country is not left out of this trend. The minister of this portfolio, David Collado, presented this year the “TuCard” certificate to more than 60 companies in this sector, including travel agencies and tour operators. This tourism credential seeks to provide transparency to tourists and visitors, who by scanning the QR code, can validate the basic information of the establishment, including its Unique Tourism Registration Number (RUT) and license status.
QR codes at airports
On the other hand, and as part of the optimization of processes for visitors, the Directorate General of Migration of the Dominican Republic, implemented an electronic form for entry and exit of all passengers entering or leaving the country.
The digital platform called E-TICKET replaces the three forms that travelers must complete to enter national territory: the International Boarding and Disembarkation Card, the Customs Declaration Form and the Traveler’s Health Affidavit.
In this way, passengers only have to complete one form for entering and another for leaving the country, while the system generates the QR codes, which will be scanned by the local authorities at Customs. In this way, this technology stores the customs information of the registrant and his/her companions.
Meanwhile in the healthcare sector, QR codes are fast becoming the norm in many fields and the possibilities for their use are virtually endless, from scanning a QR code to pick up a prescription to using another to access a patient’s complete medical history.
Another sector that has massively implemented this technology is the advertising and marketing industry. Generally you will see that QR codes are accompanied by some marketing action and are placed next to an advertisement, a promotion, a product or a brand. Each of them, brings with it a link that will link directly to your cell phone with the information the advertiser wishes to convey.
QR codes were almost in disuse, but with the pandemic has achieved a new momentum, to become a recurring tool for its usefulness to avoid direct physical contact. However, this time this technology is not intended to be forgotten and is back to stay.