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Barcodes and Cell Phones

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Because most cell phones now have cameras, the ability to access information quickly by reading barcodes is becoming more common. Viewing an image of a barcode can take a person to a website for more information about products, to enter sweepstakes, to get online coupons, and many more functions based on the type of phone and available software.

There are many types of barcodes that can be used by cell phones with some examples below.

Many of these 2D codes were originally used for tracking parts, packages, envelopes, and more. However the problem with this technology is that many camera phones
cannot get an accurate view of 2D barcodes to read them properly. Many
bar codes are too dense, and the camera cannot focus at close proximity.

ScanLife and sem@code and are two companies developing 2D barcodes and software especially for mobile devices to read. sem@code has only Facebook integration for now, but ScanLife can be used anywhere, anytime. ScanLife barcodes are low density, and can be easily read by mobile devices. They have software for most of the popular phones available today. As you can see in this graphic, the ScanLife code is a low density, easy to read 2D barcode.

ScanLife EZ Codes can be created by individuals or companies. Once the code has been generated, it can be downloaded and be used on web pages, magazines, packaging, point-of-sale displays, bulk mailings, and many other types of media including billboards. Scanning this barcode with a phone does require processing by the ScanLife server, which may take a few seconds depending on connection speed. It also requires a small software application to be installed on the phone. A list of compatible phones and more information is available here.

As cell phone cameras get better and connection speeds faster, 2D barcodes will become common to give shoppers the information they want, and will work as an incentive to make purchases in an increasingly mobile environment.

– Contributed by JR Hayden

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