NFC and QR, what is the difference?

On: Dec 11, 2012 Under: Nfc, Qr codes, Solutions,,

A lot of clients ask us why NFC over QR or when to use each. Here are the basics:

QR offers a link and has no production cost if being placed into printed media. At high resolution it reads well with most cameras if printed on a flat, non-reflective surface.

NFC offers over 20 additional interactions (and growing) to turn on phone functions, set preferences, launch apps, pass through data to third parties to 'order' things. It can do this because it allows data to be written and read from the tag, can be encrypted and can be used in or on almost any material or product. 

NFC tags do cost a little per tag. By reusing them through tag management software such as or free versions for personal use such as, helps reduce this cost. And both require software development for apps, depending on what behaviour is desirable. 

NFC hardware is in 5% of phones today with a view to being over 20% in 12 - 18 months. QR reading apps are installed in 20% of smartphones

In most solutions requiring a straight link in non-disposable, printed media we recommend including both. If it requires more than a link then NFC is the way to go.

Companies who hope to be at the forefront of understanding the opportunities NFC presents are experimenting today to ensure their solutions are elegant and well integrated for when the larger market share arrives in the coming months.

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