Digital Convergence – HCCB / Microsoft

High Capactity Color BarcodeIn the last post we covered a world with GPS / Friend Tracking / Latte’s and a prevalent advertising model involving our lovable capitalists Starbucks. We’re heading off to a slightly different convergence model this time around – that of the humble bar code.

The bar code has been with us for as long as I can remember, it’s elegant black lines transposed against a bright white background strewn with an assortment of numbers few if any understand. But where can this humble stock checker take us next – enter Microsoft with the advert of the HCCB or to you and me the High Capacity Colour bar code, consisting of minute triangular coloured squared this barcode can hold 300 times the information of the traditional bar code that we all know and love. The bar code we have at the moment can not either do a great deal or store a great deal of information – in order to push our technologies we need the extra capacities that the HCCB affords us.

Picture the scene a few years from now, you wander into a shop with your iPhone V3 and spy a new HD TV that you really want, you snap a picture of the bar code on your mobile, your mobile in turn (with its persistent online connection) downloads all of the information directly from the manufacturers website (they may even be an entire section of the net dedicated to this – something like .pinfo / onto your browser – you know everything you need about the product and want to buy it, great.

Your phone looks up the price of the TV in all stores with a 50 mile radius (calculated with GPS) and gives you a rundown on the pricing differences and stock levels, shows you a map of how to get to the store, shows you the store contact details so you can reserve it (or the store website / order form) – even works out the comparative cost of fuel use to get you there – what do we get? The best possible deal.

Barely a few years ago, this kind of information architecture and distribution would have been considered impossible, but with the advent of the new ‘web’, faster speeds, everybody with a permanent mobile pocket based browser and a new found trust in the internets’ ability to deliver the truth, there is now no reason why we should think that we can’t or more accurately won’t follow these lines in the not so distant future.

See more of the HCCB at:

Update 14th May: A prototype version of something similar to the above by Jefferey Sharkey Android Scan.

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