Several people have asked why did we choose to use Microsoft Tag as the foundation of our latest system upgrade, here’s why…but first we thought we should explain what a traditional 2D Barcode is;
What are 2D Barcodes?
You can put a 2D barcode on just about anything – printed materials, packaging, posters, signs, websites, clothing. When people can scan the barcode with their smartphones, they instantly see the online content you’ve created – from a product video to a sweepstakes to a custom mobile site.
But not all barcodes are created equal. The type of barcode you use is important, because features and ease of use vary. There are three types of barcodes in common use: traditional linear barcodes, QR codes, and Microsoft Tags.
Before we get to 2D barcodes, we should note that some marketers provide basic product information using the 1D barcodes you’ve known for years. Some services use mobile apps to scan these barcodes and display data such as prices, descriptions, and user reviews.
By moving beyond straight lines, a 2D barcode can contain more information. One common approach is the Quick Response (QR) code, an open-source platform with a variety of disparate formats and reader apps. This old-style 2D barcode contains the entire message in the code, so online access isn’t needed to decode it, but the barcode size will vary depending on the amount of encoded data. QR codes can be black-and-white or basic colors.
We believe that Microsoft Tag takes mobile tagging to the next level, offering more flexibility both in the barcode design and the content behind it. Because Tags are linked to data stored on a server, you can deliver a more robust online experience – including entire mobile sites – and update the content any time without having to change the Tag. So, if you link a Tag on your business card to your résumé, it’ll still be valid after you get that big promotion. Tags can be black-and-white or full-color, including custom images (e.g., a company logo). And that’s just the beginning – see what else makes Tag the best choice for mobile tagging.
Look and Design
|Code color scheme||b&w, simple color||b&w, full color, custom images|
|Codes customizable||Yes, affects quality of scan||Yes|
(without camera auto-focus)
|1.25” square||0.75” square|
|Acquiring reader||Multiple sites, sources can be confusing for user; quality of readers inconsistent||One app to download from one location: http://gettag.mobi|
|Reader quality||QR readers inconsistent; some will not work with some QR codes||Tag app works with any Tag|
|Flexible content||Content often hard-wired into code; flexibility depends on source||Yes, where the code points can be changed within seconds|
|Reporting services||Depends on source||Yes, free to any Tag creator|
|Investment in future||Scattered||Yes, Microsoft committed to Tag until at least January 2015, with 2-year notice before changing commitment|