There have been some famously failed attempts. You may remember the :CueCat, a cat-shaped barcode scanner that plugged into your PC (I guess playing off the idea if you had a mouse you could have a cat, too.) The idea was ahead of its time, not because of the technology per se, but because the technology still tied us to our computers.
The real and virtual worlds were tied together sufficiently – scanning a barcode in a magazine ad would take one to a website – but the timing was off. When I’m reading a magazine, I’m usually not in front on my computer. And training readers to read in front of a computer for the benefit of some additional content, unless absolutely compelling, was not going to happen.
Enter the ubiquitous Smartphone, loaded with a Web browser, a fast connection and a camera that can double as a scanner. The difference isn’t the technology; it’s the “where” and the “when.” The Smartphone is always on and always near you, especially at a point where you need more information to help you make a significant purchase. That’s the concept behind the 2D tagging solution we’ve recently deployed for Canon.
Stand in a big box retailer and look at a row of printers of all brands. If you’re lucky, you have an index card’s worth of information on the edge of the shelf you can use to compare the printers across brands. Perhaps you’re very lucky and you have a knowledgeable salesperson standing by to help. If not, how can you get more information? How can you get answers to the questions the retailer couldn’t fit on the shelf tag?
To answer that question, we used the Microsoft Tag – a proprietary High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) – on select Canon printers and scanners. Use your Smartphone to scan the tag and you’re taken to a mobile website optimized for your device. See a complete list of features and specifications, read unbiased customer reviews, or even watch a video highlighting the device’s best features. Through 2D tagging, you’re connected in a meaningful way at exactly the right time.
Scan the tag here with your Smartphone to try it out. If you don’t have the app, it’s a quick free download at http://gettag.mobi.
Depending on your device and browser type you’ll get one of several experiences custom-tailored just for you.
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