First Look - Bar Codes for Buildings

Spring 2011
QR codes are like mobile fliers for buildings and work well in high-traffic, urban areas with foot traffic like this one at the base of two large residential towers in Chicago.

It’s remarkable to find that Quick Response (QR) codes have been around since 1994 and we’re only now starting to incorporate them into our everyday lives. Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR codes are now used in a much broader context, including on commercial buildings and signage. You might have also seen them on products in shopping centers or grocery stores.

QR codes storing building information such as floor plans, available space, asking rent, leasing contact and amenities can be retrieved simply by a wave of your smart phone. “We experienced a couple hundred hits in the first few months on a Chicago property. It makes people stop and take notice and works best on identifiable spaces in urban areas with sidewalks,” said Scott R. Maesel, executive managing director, Sperry Van Ness, LLC. The company also uses them on property signage in suburban locations as another tool for marketing their properties.

QR code as a building facade

The N Building in a Tokyo shopping district uses a QR code as the building facade. Shoppers can point their phone to the building to browse store information and download coupons.

QR codes can appear in magazines, on property signs, billboards, buses, business cards, or just about any object which users might need information. The smart phone simply scans the QR code through the phone’s reader application to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network or open a Web page in the phone’s browser. The QR code is capable of high-speed reading through position detection patterns located at the three corners of the symbol. The symbol varies so don’t expect to see the exact same pattern every time. Happy marketing!