Tag: You're It!

At Convergence, one of the keynote speakers demoed a new beta technology called "Tag." Similar to a barcode, tags are colorful little unique labels that, when photographed with a properly-equipped mobile device, can act as hyperlinks from physical objects to websites or contact cards out in the ether.

The idea is that people can download the little mobile app onto their phones, and if they see a "tag" on a product, or billboard, or business card, etc., they can snap a picture and their phone will automatically link to the website URL encoded in the image. There's been a similar app for the iPhone that lets users upload a barcode and get product information from the web, but in the case of tags, Microsoft is currently allowing anyone to create a tag (just go to microsoft.com/tag and sign up), and the algorithm behind the tags allows for more data to be stored in it than a typical black and white QR or datamatrix code.

What I haven't learned yet is whether there's an API so you can submit URL strings through a webservice and get back tags in a binary format that you could stuff into a database. I'm thinking about applications for CRM: For example, let's say you have field service reps who have to do service on machinery. They might have a mobile device with access to CRM data. Tags could be used to store a link to the machinery's record in CRM, and the field service rep could pull up service history and related customer information just by snapping a pic of the tag on the piece of machinery. That's just one possibility. But for this to work, you'd want to have a custom app in CRM that generates tags every time a new "machinery" record was created. Hmmm... lots of possibilities.


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