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How the pandemic revived a dying technology

How the pandemic revived a dying technology
Technology companies worldwide have made life easier during the last two years. Some have introduced new technologies, while others have leveraged existing tech and repurposed them.
Just when we thought we could stop writing about pandemic-related topics, Omicron has struck, and we are talking about lockdowns and restrictions again. If we go by some agencies, COVID-19 will always be there, and we should learn to live around it. Others suggest it's a matter of another two or three years. WHO wants to end the pandemic next year.
Technology companies worldwide have made life easier during the last two years. Some have introduced new technologies, while others have leveraged existing tech and repurposed them.
But one technology that did not have many takers before the pandemic, and was in fact, slowly making its way out from most industries, was the Quick Response Code, fondly called the QR code. Over the last year, QR codes have become a popular solution to enable touchless systems in access control, restaurants, transport, and several other sectors.

Why QR codes are more relevant than ever now

QR codes offer a great way to ensure secure and contactless access control. Most people have a camera phone now, and all they need to do is scan a code using it.
"Within access control systems, QR codes are often used as a credential for temporary and time-limited access to manage entry for visitors, employees, or deliveries," explains Derek Wang, Product Manager for Access Control at Axis Communications, in a blog post. "While traditional plastic cards are still in use, these often are lost or shared between visitors making it difficult to control who is getting access to your premises."
In contrast, using QR codes as credentials can be a more secure and efficient way to control access to the business. Wang provides four main reasons for the increased use of QR codes in access control.
  1. Scope for better security

Traditionally, a QR code once created couldn't be changed. It was static. This couldn't be used for high-value purposes like physical security or payments because anyone could copy the code. Dynamic QR codes solved this problem as users could update them even after being distributed, ensuring that no one could replicate them.
"Dynamic QR code-based solutions remove the security risk of credential copy, since a screen copy, photocopy, or even a video recording of the dynamic QR code will not work," Wang writes. "Combining it with a multi-factor authentication solution, such as a PIN, will further increase the security level of the QR code-based access control solution."
  1. Economical solution

The cost of using QR codes is mainly limited to a scanner or a display system. Most of the devices may already be in place for many customers who are using access control and other physical security systems.
"Thanks to the virtualized credential option, a QR code is a very cost-effective access control solution compared with the traditional physical card or key fob-based access control solution," Wang said. "It not only reduces the costs of purchasing, handling, printing, distributing and disposing of physical credentials but also saves the cost of installation since you can utilize existing video intercoms or cameras."
  1. Increased efficiency

Probably the most significant advantage of QR codes is that its highly efficient. Security managers can create, distribute, update, and revoke a QR code within seconds from anywhere they have access to the system.
For the users, it's convenient because all they need to do is have a phone with a camera. People are less likely to lose their phones than RFID cards and keys. Being able to grant access, especially temporary when there is a visitor, remotely ensures convenience for the management as well.
"In a typical situation, an external visitor receives a QR code on their mobile phone, which grants them entry into a facility or parking area without having to stop at the front desk," Wang explains. "Another typical scenario is the management of late-deliveries when there is no staff present. The supplier, with the QR code already on their mobile device, can simply display it in front of a video intercom or camera to gain access to specific areas at a facility."
  1. A sustainable solution

Finally, you do not need additional cards, fobs, keys, or any physical entity when using a QR code. This means that you are reducing the use of materials like plastic, paper, etc., making it a sustainable practice.

A futuristic solution

QR codes may have had a slow adoption before, but now it's popular in many industries. Besides access control, mobile payment apps, delivery services, and even business cards. According to a study by The Drum and YouGov, 75% of consumers have said that they plan to use QR Codes moving forward. 
In the early days of this technology, mobile phones couldn't read a QR code without third-party apps. But today's mobile phone cameras come with pre-installed QR code scanners, making it all the easier for the customer.
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