Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Microsoft Adds Color And FeaturesTo Barcode Scanning

Things are really starting to heat up in the Physical World Connection space. I see lots of interesting physical world connection applications here. Microsoft creates their own unique 2 dimensional code (2d code) and signs a licensing deal with the major bar code numbering agency.

Will Microsoft and the ISAN create a "registry" for physical world objects that can be connected to the Internet?

Microsoft has a 2d code scanning application for a camera phone, and a 1d code scanning application.

Because DuPont and Microsoft are launching Physical World Connection platforms, this seems even more unnecessary now.

Microsoft's HCCB code offers authentication as well as a connection to the Internet.

From IT Jungle Microsoft breaks the color barrier for barcode

The IT industry has seen various improvements in labeling technology, starting with simple two-dimensional barcodes, more advanced three-dimensional barcodes, and, finally, radio frequency identification (RFID), the "barcode killer." Now, Microsoft is trying to infuse new life into the tired black-and-white barcoding scheme with a new colorized barcode format.

The High Capacity Color Barcodes are expected to start showing up on DVD discs later this year.

According to Gavin Jancke, director of engineering for Microsoft Research and the inventor of the new high capacity color barcode (HCCB) format, color barcodes hold more information and look better than traditional black-and-white barcodes.

Microsoft declined to disclose financial terms of the agreement with the ISAN International Agency. The PC and mobile-phone software needed to read the high-capacity bar codes will be available for free.

What will this do to the PWC space?

On Monday, Microsoft announced that the International Standard Audiovisual Number International Agency ((ISAN-IA), the Swiss agency charged with administering the ISAN numbering system, has licensed HCCB technology and plans to incorporate it into an authentication system for weeding out legitimate motion pictures, video games, broadcasts, and digital video recordings from forgeries.

In addition to authentication, HCCB has other uses. As the technology improves, Microsoft envisions barcodes being displayed on TV or computer screens, on movie posters or DVD or CD cases, or on magazine ads or billboards. To get more info, consumers would scan these color barcodes with their camera-equipped cell phones or Web cams.

New security features can also be incorporated into the color barcode. Microsoft cites a company called DatatraceDNA that plans to use HCCB to build anti-counterfeiting security protection features that could be added during the manufacturing process of most products. The company refers to this process as Digital Nanoparticle Authentication, or DNA.

Jancke has a European patent on the High Capacity Color Barcode, and a U.S. patent is pending.

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