Lakewood Ranch businesses are on the cutting edge of smart phone technology. Local shops, restaurants and other business owners have recently unveiled 2D barcodes or “Tags” which allow smartphone users to access vital information, coupons, specials, and more by scanning a business’s Tag.
The popularity of smart phones such as the iPhone, and devices running Blackberry, Web OS, and Android operating systems, has generated the development of many applications that allow those devices to serve our daily needs. Now, Microsoft has taken a nearly 60-year-old business innovation, the barcode, and revamped it into something suited perfectly to the on-demand lives we live.
Today’s 2D rendition, also known as the high capacity color barcode, will be able to hold much more information than the original barcode system. The barcode is displayed as a square of colored triangles. Any smart phone’s camera can read these with the Microsoft Tag application available for most platforms. The user scans the barcode and is directed to a website for that barcode. The barcodes do not have to be very large. Depending on how far away you expect it to be scanned from, it might range from an inch- wide square on a book cover to one large enough to put on a billboard. Anyone can register to get a barcode during the beta testing period, but eventually registration may come at a price.
To see this new technology in action, just take a trip to Lakewood Ranch, where over 100 businesses have signed up and are finding many interesting ways to utilize their Tags. The main street plaza is probably one of the best places to find Tags, and restaurants are using them to bring their menus, online ordering pages, and customer reviews straight onto the phones of their patrons.
The process for obtaining and using a Tag is surprisingly simple. After creating a Windows Live account, visit the Microsoft Tag site, create a new Tag, and then download the rendered image. Tags can connect to websites, phone numbers, business cards, or simple text. They can be printed using a standard color printer, or can be printed on any number of products, many of which are offered on the Tag website. Microsoft provides tracking of each view, and the geographic location of the user, if permitted by the user.
Ben Harshbarger, technician with Computer Renaissance in Bradenton, can be reached at (941) 753-8277 or firstname.lastname@example.org.