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Using SQRL Codes in Disasters

Using SQRL Codes in Disasters

by RLA Standards Committee , Reverse Logistic Association

Reverse Logistics Magazine, Edition 86

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Hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, fires—all at the same time? This is the trifecta of chaos. Internet access? Mobile phones? Land-lines? Forget it. Chaos reigns! Our smart phones still work, but there is no signal. Hundreds of thousands of people must be identified and processed. Because of the poor communications environment, this is done by hand and on paper. It is done and redone…. In the next line, you do it all over again. The paperwork is necessary: the fraud is rampant even during—maybe especially during times of disaster. Both cream and scum rise to the top.

The SQRL code protocols would be of great assistance. SQRL codes optimize the amount of data that can be stored and accessed by a QR code. A QR Code can contain 4000 characters. It can be scanned and read by most all smart phones—without connectivity. Each person can carry with them (on their phone) an app that would display their personal ID record; let’s call it a Disaster ID (DID card). Every aide worker could quickly scan the QR Code from the client’s screen. If the client does not have a smart phone, the QR code can be printed onto a badge that can be worn by the client.

The app that creates and stores this data can be quickly tailored by the disaster relief organization to accommodate each unique event requirement: the vocabulary of the services can be modified. The information collected can be customized. Because SQRL codes are an open standard, interoperability between applications is guaranteed.

So the question becomes, what information would be included on a DID card and what would it look like? We have defined a set of basic fields and will add additional fields as they are proposed by disaster agencies. To start off, we have defined five fields to be totally customizable by each agency. In addition there are a series of standard ID fields that can be selected. Designing the intake form is easy and the SQRL codes can be printed by inexpensive label printers or produced as JPEG files. Designers may select which fields to include in their specific DID. Fields may be individually encrypted as the label designer’s choice. With technology developed by Denso, the Japanese company that invented the QR code decades ago, the codes can even have an embedded photograph of the client. The applications can be distributed early when disasters are pending such as a hurricane. Those who download and complete the data forms will be prepared in case of worst case scenarios.

For more information please contact The Reverse Logistics Association Standards Committee; or Michael Alford 404-386-2115 Standards Committee Staff Advisor.

RLA Standards Committee
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