Microsoft’s High Capacity Multicolor Bar Code licensed by ISAN to lend a splash of color

Microsoft Multicolor Bar Code on Viva Pinata Video Game

Microsoft together with the International Standard Audiovisual Number International Agency (ISAN-IA) announced Microsoft’s newly developed High Capacity Color Barcode (HCCB) technology will be used in the identification of commercial audiovisual works such as movies, video games, broadcasts, digital video recordings and other media.

The role of ISAN-IA, besides licensing the Microsoft-developed bar code, is to make it available to other organizations for use in tracking, which will ultimately help in protecting and managing their audio visual content. ISAN-IA also said several of its registration agencies will use the innovative technology to help their customers derive more accountability and value from their media asset libraries.

It has already been decided that the new multicolor bar code will first be seen on DVD media toward the end of 2007.

According to Gavin Jancke, director of engineering for Microsoft Research and inventor of the HCCB format, “The capability of these new bar codes to store more data in a smaller place should provide a rich resource for the industry and consumers alike.”

“The new code offers several advantages over exiting black-and-white bar codes most people are accustomed to seeing on product pages, enabling new consumer experiences, more visual appeal where aesthetics are important and the ability to incorporate advanced security features,” he continued.

Current ISAN codes allow an audiovisual work to be uniquely distinguished from other works through a very simple identification system. However, they do not allow additional features or even functions to be incorporated.

The newly developed multicolor bar code courtesy Microsoft Research will enable the inclusion of more data in the code itself, as well as the ability for consumers to interact with it by scanning the code with webcams, and may be even cell phones that have color cameras.

For audiovisual publishers, identification and tracking technologies will provide detailed data that can aid in royalty payments, anti-counterfeiting efforts, market analysis and a host of other business functions.

For consumers, the new bar codes can be combined with Web services to offer enhanced information such as product versioning, ratings identification, parental control, product availability, special releases, contests, pricing and promotions.

New security features can also be incorporated into Microsoft’s multicolor bar code. DatatraceDNA plans to provide technology for anti-counterfeiting security protection features through nanotechnology that is invisibly embedded within the material and ink of the Microsoft bar code and product packaging.