Microsoft Tag: The QR Code on Steroids
Last time, I talked about using QR Codes to help push mobile business. These “scancodes” can direct users to web sites, provide contact information and even connect to wireless devices. But, they’re limited.
Enter: Microsoft Tag – a colorful, visually appealing code that offers more than just the basics. With Microsoft Tag you can create custom tags that allow you to integrate your brand within the tag itself. Tags are scanned (shot with a camera on a mobile device) much like QR Codes, but there’s a few things Microsoft did that makes life a whole lot easier.
Microsoft’s High Capacity Color Barcodes (HCCBs) were designed to work with the limitations of smartphone cameras. So, even with a somewhat blurry picture users can get a more accurate read. The tags also don’t need to be as large, and can be scaled down to as little as 3/4” in print. That saves some prime real estate.
Other enticing features include the ability to expire tags and track usage statistics. Tags can also utilize GPS, which means manufacturers and store chains can direct consumers to the nearest location. And, tags can be converted for black and white (no color) display or printing.
Custom tags, however, are what really make Microsoft Tag so attractive. If you’re handy with Adobe Illustrator, for example, you can save a raw image of the tag and modify it to truly brand it for your business.
One caveat, though, is the availability of reader apps. While nearly every working smartphone today has some way of reading QR Codes, a Microsoft Tag reader is not available across all platforms. This, however, is due to change in the near future as the company recognizes the need to release apps for all platforms.
So, how does Microsoft Tag stand up to QR Codes? After all, major companies have used both types of codes for interactive content.
- Simple to generate code, but limited in its display (no customization of design).
- Accessible readers – apps are available for nearly any smartphone.
- Content and information fed is limited.
- No true analytics through free usage.
- Simple to generate, not-so-simple to customize (you need to know graphic design and key elements).
- Content and information can be updated.
- Stats reporting and expired linking.
- Apps not yet available for all devices.
Some say it’s all a matter of choice. Others say Microsoft Tag will outright replace the QR Code (which hasn’t yet been put into full effect due to its “geekiness”). With all of this being so new to the average user, you can choose either system, but with the understanding that, while more limited, a higher number of consumers can scan QR Codes.
How about you? Were you aware of QR Codes and Microsoft Tag before reading these posts? Do you use them? And how does their anticipated popularity change the way you think of the future of your business? Let us know…