Volume 4, Number 15 -- April 18, 2007

Microsoft Breaks the Color Barrier for Barcode

Published: April 18, 2007

by Alex Woodie

In the last 25 years, the IT industry has seen various improvements in labeling technology, starting with simple two-dimensional barcodes, more advanced three-dimensional barcodes, and, finally, radio frequency identification (RFID), the "barcode killer." Now, Microsoft is trying to infuse new life into the tired black-and-white barcoding scheme with a new colorized barcode format.

The first question you may be asking is, Why color barcodes? According to Gavin Jancke, director of engineering for Microsoft Research and the inventor of the new high capacity color barcode (HCCB) format, color barcodes hold more information and look better than traditional black-and-white barcodes.

"The capability of these new bar codes to store more data in a smaller space should provide a rich resource for the industry and consumers alike," Jancke says. "The new code offers several advantages over existing black and white bar codes most people are accustomed to seeing on product packages, enabling new consumer experiences, more visual appeal where aesthetics are important, and the ability to incorporate advanced security features."

On Monday, Microsoft announced that the International Standard Audiovisual Number International Agency ((ISAN-IA), the Swiss agency charged with administering the ISAN numbering system, has licensed HCCB technology and plans to incorporate it into an authentication system for weeding out legitimate motion pictures, video games, broadcasts, and digital video recordings from forgeries.

In addition to authentication, HCCB has other uses. As the technology improves, Microsoft envisions barcodes being displayed on TV or computer screens, on movie posters or DVD or CD cases, or on magazine ads or billboards. To get more info, consumers would scan these color barcodes with their camera-equipped cell phones or Web cams.

Currently, kids in Japan are using cell phones to read black and white barcodes. But because of the limits of optical technology, those barcodes must be at least 1.5 inches square to read. Color barcodes would greatly reduce the size of the barcode, making it more practical to include on all sorts of consumer items.

New security features can also be incorporated into the color barcode. Microsoft cites a company called DatatraceDNA that plans to use HCCB to build anti-counterfeiting security protection features that could be added during the manufacturing process of most products. The company refers to this process as Digital Nanoparticle Authentication, or DNA.

Patrick Attallah, CEO of ISAN-IA, says HCCP will allow media publishers to provide counterfeit protection and a means for providing additional interactive services to consumers. "The capabilities enabled by this combination of bar code technology and supporting software are important for everyone," he says.

                     Post this story to
               Post this story to Digg
    Post this story to Slashdot

Sponsored By

HP, IBM and Sun Server Deals via RSS

                                                  · Subscribe to our Specials via RSS
                                                  · Up to 80% off manufacturer's list price
                                                  · Multi-million dollar inventory

We Buy & Sell new and remarketed servers,
upgrades, peripherals and parts.

HP Proliant, IBM xSeries, IBM pSeries, RS6000,
HP Integrity, Sun Microsystems, Cisco, more…

View or Subscribe to:
Special Offers on Servers and Upgrades

Editor: Alex Woodie
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
Contact the Editors: To contact anyone on the IT Jungle Team
Go to our contacts page and send us a message.

Sponsored Links

Vision Solutions:  Get facts on managed availability and business continuity to eliminate downtime
Wolf Computer Consulting:  Reliable service and affordable rates for business computing needs
COMMON:  Join us at the Spring 2007 conference, April 29 - May 3, in Anaheim, California


The Four Hundred
IBM Goes After Windows with User-Priced System i Servers

IBM Upgrades High-End System i5 Servers

Wheeling and Dealing to Move System i Iron

System i and the Web: Where We've Been and Where We're Going

The Linux Beacon
Canonical Updates Ubuntu Linux with 7.04 Release

Intel Details Future 45 Nanometer Chip Plans from Beijing

Dell, IBM Push Power-Saving Servers

As I See It: The Legacy

Four Hundred Stuff
Oracle Declares a 'Renaissance' for J.D. Edwards World

Shield Launches 'DR for the Masses'

IBM Addresses Object-Level Security with New Tool

More Details Emerge on Query/400's Java-Based Replacement

Big Iron
CA Tweaks Job Schedulers, Positions Them as Workload Automation

Top Mainframe Stories From Around the Web

Chats, Webinars, Seminars, Shows, and Other Happenings

Four Hundred Guru
Missing In Action: The Full Outer Join

Reader Feedback on One-Man System i Shops

Admin Alert: The Process and Pitfalls of Duplicating Libraries

System i PTF Guide
April 7, 2007: Volume 9, Number 14

March 31, 2007: Volume 9, Number 13

March 24, 2007: Volume 9, Number 12

March 17, 2007: Volume 9, Number 11

March 10, 2007: Volume 9, Number 10

March 3, 2007: Volume 9, Number 9

The Unix Guardian
Yen Explains Sun's Chip Strategy

Hello, New York? Buy IBM

Schwartz Blogs a Bit About the Dud Rock Chip on His Desk

As I See It: The Legacy

Four Hundred Monitor
Four Hundred Monitor's
Full iSeries Events Calendar


Lakeview Technology
World Data Products
Storage Guardian
Vibrant Technologies

'Viridian' Beta Delayed. Is Longhorn Next?

Windows Server DNS Flaw Being Exploited

Dell, IBM Push Power-Saving Servers

Marathon Makes Virtualization Fault Tolerant with v-Available

But Wait, There's More:

Microsoft Unveils SaaS Incubation Centers . . . TIP: Blade Servers Projected to Grow Fast Through 2010 . . . Microsoft Breaks the Color Barrier for Barcode . . . Microsoft Unveils Silverlight 'Flash Killer' . . . LogLogic 4.0: A View to a Log . . . Vendors Propose Fibre Channel Over Ethernet Standard . . .

The Windows Observer


Subscription Information:
You can unsubscribe, change your email address, or sign up for any of IT Jungle's free e-newsletters through our Web site at

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Guild Companies, Inc., 50 Park Terrace East, Suite 8F, New York, NY 10034

Privacy Statement