Over the past few weeks I have noticed a growing trend on twitter. More and more discussions regarding the Microsoft Tag. More and more people are talking about how much they love it and use it everyday when out and about. So what is so revolutionising about the Microsoft Tag?
It is similar to most other barcode technologies, like the popular QR Code. It allows information to be stored in a geographical bitmap, but using shapes and colours. This new technology is based on High Capacity Colour Barcodes, which was invented by Microsoft’s own research team. Instead of using square pixels, like those in the QRCode and the Datamatrix Codes, it uses triangle shapes in various colours to store the data.
If you look at the diagram below, you can see how different and strangely simple the tag is compared to conventional barcodes.
Instead of storing the information in the barcode, like the QR Code and the Datamatrix barcodes do, it instead hold’s a unique ID, which when scanned, refers you to the Microsoft server. Doing it this way means that you have the ability to provide a lot more information. It also has the added benefit of being able to measure the amount of people who have scanned a particular Microsoft Tag and have been referred to a particular ID on the Microsoft server.
Reading these tags has been made simple, Microsoft have provided an application to download on to a variety of platforms for your smartphone. These include Windows Mobile, J2ME, iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian S60 phones. In order to make the application work, a camera and an internet connection is required. If you would like to download the application for, check out this link and click on your appropriate phone.
I have previously seen barcode scanning applications on other phones, noticeably those designed to be used for the QRCodes, and following my recent blog article regarding this, the technology didn’t come up to scratch. With the Microsoft Tag, you are able to read it from any direction and even from far away.
Even better news is that anyone can go on to the Microsoft Tag website and create their own tag. We have done our own:
This technology has the potential to be used massively out in the retail and advertising world. Just imagine walking around town and noticing an advert that you are interested in and scanning the Microsoft Tag taking you directly to a website with all the information for you to look up again later, as and when you need it. I think the barcoding world is going to get a lot more colourful!
The Rugged and Mobile blog.