Posted by: Diane Capuano
Have you noticed 2D codes cropping up all over like corn in the middle of Illinois? I’ve personally seen them on product labels, in print ads, on direct mail pieces, on business cards, on trade show booths, on taxi cab advertising and on real estate “for sale” signs. Some people even are putting codes on T-shirts!
2D codes are small squares of multi-directional data that can be scanned by a mobile phone app, which immediately takes you to a website or online video for more information about a product or service. Most of the content is informative or instructional in the form of more detailed product descriptions or a how-to demonstration, but it can also be promotional (enter a contest, receive a discount). I’ve even read that this could be a great solution to giving customers quick access to Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS).
There are primarily two types of 2D codes in the marketplace right now. The QR code, which consists of a black square of multi-directional data, is the most common. Also gaining in popularity is the Microsoft Tag, which is available in either black and white or color and is fully customizable. QR codes can be read through a variety of QR readers available online (search “QR Reader” on your mobile phone), while the dedicated reader for Microsoft Tags is available at http://gettag.mobi. You do need a smart phone with both a camera and web-browser in order to read the codes.
PDR magazine will have a full-length feature article on 2D tags in its July issue (we will have an online version of this article available at www.pdra.org soon). In the meantime, why don’t you give 2D tags a try? Once you’ve loaded the apps as specified above, point them at the codes on the screen below to sample the content supplied by the manufacturers.
Interested in getting your own 2D code? Here are a few resources:
Microsoft Tags here
Also, if you are a manufacturer or retailer in the paint and decorating industry—or any other industry— and are using these codes, especially in a unique way not covered here, please let us know in the comments section. We’re interested in keeping abreast of this technology.