Microsoft Tags

Microsoft is currently beta testing a new kind of 2D barcode, which is technically known as High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs), but is more commonly referred to as a Tag.

The advanced computer imaging of Tags employs different symbol shapes in geometric patterns and multiple colors (cyan, magenta, yellow) to provide more information in less space than QR or Data Matrix barcodes, and Tags were purposely designed to be used with fixed-focus cameras, which is the type of camera found in most mobile phones, so readability becomes less of an issue, versus other types of 2D barcodes.

Although Tags originate in color, they can be printed and used in black and white.

Microsoft Custom Tags can additionally combine branding and code reading into a single footprint (see sample below). Traditional 2D barcodes require devoting space exclusively to the footprint of the industrial looking code itself often taking visual focus away from the hero of the message. However with Microsoft Custom Tags the code can be fully integrated into the look and form of the messaging itself.

Illustration of custom Tag integration into existing product look and feel
(not actual product – for illustration purposes only)

For the 2010 Winter Olympics, Wheaties cereal created a box with Microsoft Tags on it. When the Tags are scanned you are taken to a social mobile experience where users are able to follow Wheaties on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. You can also find out more information about the product.

Below is a snapshot of the mobile experience users will see on their phone:

Microsoft Tags can meet the wide range of publishing demands from color package, black and white newspaper, to store shelf labeling. Microsoft Tag Reader seamlessly detects which color format is being scanned delivering the end user content in a flash. All existing Microsoft Tag Readers already have the ability to decode both color and black and white Tags.


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