High Capacity Colour Barcodes vs. QR Codes

High Capacity Colour Barcodes are Microsoft’s foray into the world of barcodes and appear to fulfil some of the main requirements to make a barcode a success. Firstly they contain a lot of information for the amount of space they take up; this is key since no company wants to hand much room over on a product to boring information. Secondly they actually look quite eye catching, which may not always be good, but as QR Codes have shown if you convince people to read your barcodes they have great implication for linking physical and online marketing.

barcode reader software

Microsoft's Barcode Packs in the Information

However they have not taken over the mantel of the norm in barcodes, in industry or in marketing. Just as there are several aspects which appear to make them promising there are several factors which make them less appealing. Possibly the most significant of these is the extra cost incurred by the printer of the barcode in having to print using 4 or 8 colours; often simple is better. It should also be seen that QR Codes, although 2D, are still easily identifiable as a barcode, rather than reminiscent or 1980’s clothing. The final nail in the coffin, and quite probably a result of the other issues, is that there is a lack of freely available readers for Microsofts High Capacity Colour Barcodes.

This is not to say however that it is game over for the High Capacity Colour Barcodes. As demands for greater amounts of information to be encoded into barcodes increases the ability to add a third dimension, in the form of colour, is surely a natural progression (far more intuitive than the actually 3d barcodes which exist). However for barcodes to remain viable they must be cheaper and easier to implement that RFID.

Anyone seen practical use of High Capacity Colour Barcodes? Comments welcome.


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