SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 11, 2011 -- From Facebook, Twitter and Flickr to downloading Apps on smart-phones via a local wireless network, the technology and terms we use on a daily basis continue to evolve. While some people prefer to bury their head in the sand of the pre-tech era, others try to keep up with every new tech tool and toy.To remain on the cutting edge and stay relevant to today’s youth (and tech-minded grown-ups, too), the U.S. Army has kept pace with the tech surge. A quick scroll through the goarmy.com Web site reveals that the Army has a presence on YouTube, Flickr, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.So what’s the next step in the effort to keep current and provide information at the speed of a click? QR Codes. Short for “Quick Response Code,” the modern-art-looking little boxes are actually codes that can be scanned with an iPhone, BlackBerry or Android device.This brings us back to the word, “App” -- or application. In order to scan one of these funky little code boxes, a person must download an App that can read them. No worries -- there are several scanning Apps to choose from such as ScanLife, ShopSavvy, RedLaser and Jump Scan, and they’re free. Once a tech savvy reader has downloaded a scanning App, he or she can simply use that App to scan the QR Code. And by the way, these Apps also can scan those standard bar codes found on everything from potato chips to magazines.So what’s the point of using these codes? Scanning a QR Code allows people to obtain instant information, follow links and download coupons. And there are many more uses for QR Codes as well. By scanning a QR Code, a person can be quickly directed to the specific information you are seeking.For instance, a customer in Best Buy who sees a QR Code under a Samsung Plasma TV, can scan the code and be directed to all the details, specifications, discounts and information he or she needs -- right away -- no geeky salesperson needed!Currently, all of the Army Career Center’s in the Sacramento Recruiting Battalion are creating QR Codes to place in their windows. If the Soldiers happen to be out of the center on an appointment, or if the center is closed for the weekend, a prospective applicant can simply scan the QR Code and find the information they need about that particular Army Career Center. Prospective applicants will even be directed to the Facebook page of the Career Center, should they want to view it.OPENING UP A WORLD OF POSSIBILITIESAs more and more people continue to discover the innovative ways in which QR Codes can be used, people will no doubt see these quirky boxes popping up -- not only where they expect them -- but also where they least expect to find them.Here are a few examples of how QR Codes are being used in innovative ways:
• Trail Markers -- Scanning a QR Code trail marker provides information about the area plant and animal life.
• Business cards -- Rather than gather and file hard copies of colleagues' business cards, just scan their QR Code and get all of their info instantly.
• Nutrition information information information -- A quick scan of QR Codes (or Bar Codes) on food products can provide everything from calories per serving, to coupons, to where to buy it.
• Reducing the load -- Someone browsing through a large catalog who is about to board a plane can scan the QR Code and get hooked up to the digital version of the catalog.Anyone with an iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android phone should download one of the above mentioned scanning Apps and give the Sacramento Recruiting Battalion QR Code a try.