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Mobile tagging is the process of providing data on mobile devices, commonly through the use of data (such as a URL) encoded in a two-dimensional barcode, meant to be read and inputted using a camera phone.

Mt process english.jpg



Mobile tagging is currently most prominent in Asia, especially Japan. It was developed in 2003 and ever since it has been used in several fields of mobile marketing. Densos' QR Code in Asia and the Data Matrix are currently the most popular 2D barcodes. Both are ISO-standardised. In 2009, prominent electronics company Microsoft introduced the Microsoft Tag format, based on the company's self-developed High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) standard, in an effort to establish the format through emerging mobile tagging markets in the west.[1] Unlike most popular 2D barcodes, which use black-and-white square pixels, HCCBs are based on colors in a triangle-based arrangement.

The reason for the success of mobile tagging, besides the flexible and multiple fields of application, is the quick, precise and customer-driven access to information. According to the principle of physical world connection (see also Object hyperlinking), the user is able to gather digital information immediately by scanning a two-dimensional barcode, for example in an advertisement.

In Europe mobile tagging is now gaining traction, albeit that the primary usage has been direct linking of url's to 2D codes. Indeed, several campaigns in relation to physical world connection have been launched, however a standard for multi-dimensional barcodes is still missing. One of the key organizations driving wider implementation of barcodes and 2D is GS1 [1]/ GS1's main activity is the development of the GS1 System, a series of standards designed to improve supply chain management. The GS1 System is composed of four key product areas: Barcodes (used to automatically identify things), eCom (electronic business messaging allowing automatic electronic transmission of data), GDSN (Global Data Synchronisation Network which allows partners to have consistent item data in their systems at the same time) and EPCglobal (which uses RFID technology to immediately track an item).

Codes and readers

Currently about 70 different types of barcodes and their specific versions exist and are mostly in use in the field of logistics. In terms of mobile tagging, the number of codes is essentially restricted to a dozen types. For reading out 2d-barcodes it is essential to install specific software, a reader, on the mobile device.

The reader uses the camera of a mobile phone for the mobile tagging process and is available free for downloading for non commercial use from UpCode [2](i.e. included for a free download in Nokia phones), NeoMedia [3] and 3GVision [4]. The producers of the reader are very involved in developing solutions to increase the number of compatible mobile phones. Most services on the corresponding websites offer the download directly onto the mobile device or PC. In addition, many providers offer the user a generator for creating their own codes.

Due to the absence of a standard code, the readers are faced with the same problem. On the one hand there is a remarkable number of readers which aren't able to identify barcodes apart from their own proprietary codes. On the other hand there are several readers which were created to read out non-proprietary code, these 'open source codes' are the most used for Optical Reading with Mobile like the QR Code and the Data Matrix. However, a QR code is always 60% larger than a DataMatrix code and this tends to mean that DM is the primary code used in packaging and enterprise solutions for example.
Overview of several mobile-tagging codes: Certain codes can be 'stacked' i.e. 4 DataMatrix codes are stacked together increasing the amount of data contained within the code.

QR Code Data Matrix Aztec Code Mtcodes.png
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Microsoft Tag

Application areas

At present, mobile tagging is not only finding its way into the day-to-day-life of many Asians, it also concerns Europeans. There have already been a couple of campaigns in the fields of commercial, public and private tagging. The vision behind mobile tagging is the idea of an absolute convergence between information media. Mobile tagging connects static information carriers with the Internet and encourages the interactive behaviour of the user. At least this is not the only reason why leading experts are firmly convinced that performance in the European markets will almost reach Asian levels in the foreseeable future. However, the future success will not be attributed to simply linking to url's, as with the internet no one will pay to connect to a url. The real enterprise solutions are where the codes will be monetized and customization for business and commercial use will be at the forefront of intelligent and professional use - examples of which are; e.govt., tourism, advertising and targeted marketing - packaging, supply chain management, brand management and brand protection, logistics, track & trace, anti-counterfeit or smuggling, id & passports, transport & ticketing, parking, disability, crm, cross media campaigns, m-ticketing, m-payments, e.learning. Complete integration of localization, personalization, objects and other data.


Commercial tagging

Commercial tagging includes the use of multi-dimensional barcodes, especially in the fields of mobile marketing and advertising. Showcases in this context are additional information on products (e. g. the nutrient content on hamburgers), direct downloads (e. g. free ringtones, clips or mobile games) and the direct link to a specific site of a company. Particularly in the field of commercial tagging it is vital for the code to be able to be branded (= it is possible to integrate a logo in the code). It is hard to convince people to use this technology.

Public tagging

In terms of public tagging, barcodes serve as a hyperlink to additional information on public information carriers. This information may include maps, customer reviews or other non-commercial advice.

Private tagging

In view of private tagging, personal motives come to the fore. Besides the opportunity for creating direct hyperlinks on blogs or profiles, it is possible to participate immediately in online auctions (e. g. barcodes on cars with ebay hyperlinks). Furthermore barcodes allow services like saving data automatically in the contact list of mobile phones by scanning a code printed on business cards. In addition to a higher user friendliness, private tagging offers novel opportunities for self-presentation.

See also


External links


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