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Using QR Codes to Find the Missing

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We have seen posters of missing dogs and missing children.  These posters contain the contact numbers of the people looking for them and some pertinent information about the missing person or the missing pet.

But imagine this scenario:

You walk down the street.  You see a poster of a missing Chihuahua.  You give it a short look.  You think you’d probably never see the dog, so you don’t bother to take note of the owner’s name and his phone number.  You keep on walking.  The next day, however, you see a Chihuahua right outside your front door.  Either:

1) You’d know right away that it’s the missing dog.  You regret not taking note of the owner’s contact info.  And it’s either you go back to where you found the poster so you’d be able to notify the owner, or you report it to authorities so they could return the dog themselves.  Whichever it is you do, it takes time and gives you a bit of inconvenience.  

2) Or you see the Chihuahua and hesitate to pick it up.  Because first, you are not sure if it’s the missing one, and second, you just don’t know if it’s safe for you to take the dog.

Quite a hassle, right?  And just imagine if you are the dog’s owner.

So just think about what wonders QR codes can do in finding missing people and missing pets.  When a poster has a QR code, all one has to do is whip out his smartphone and scan it.  And information on the missing person or pet as well as the contact details can be saved easily, or automatically.  No sweat.  People no longer hesitate and debate as to whether they should write down the contact numbers.

This is exactly what Stephen Watkins was thinking.  He is a father looking for his two sons who were abducted by their non-custodial mother while on a court-ordered weekend visit in March 2009. He made posters with QR codes to help him spread information about and help him find his missing children.

Watkins also suggested to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the National Missing Children NGO’s to incorporate QR codes into all National Missing Children/People posters.

Watkins believes that using QR code technology on posters provides people with a new way to connect and share the Missing Children Posters with other people online.  With QR codes, people can pass on the profiles of missing children and other pertinent information to their friends with just one scan and one click.

Because QR codes take only a few moments to scan and to lead one to the relevant online content, people are more receptive and responsive.  Without too much inconvenience, QR codes are more effective at calling for action.

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