We live in SW Florida and the other night saw a report on a new community that will be using Microsoft's Tag Reader. This new community of homes and businesses will be the first of its kind to use this technology. It intrigued me because any business in today's economy can use all of the help they need - especially when it's free!
Microsoft Tag Creator is quite simple to use and has been out in the real world for over 18 months now. Go to their site at: http://tag.microsoft.com/consumer/index.aspx for more information and to create your free account.
Once there, you can read more about these tags, create your own or simply enter your cell number by clicking the "Get the Tag Reader" link. Then when you are out and about, when you see a business "tagged" you can start gathering your favorite places and never lose the information before you get home. On the "Get the Tag Reader" link, you enter your number and they will send you the link to download this APP to your smartphone. But I downloaded mine from iTunes for my iPhone. You may need to search for "tag reader", if "Microsoft Tag" doesn't return anything. Or use the link below that I put.
Yes, the Microsoft Tag Reader is for "smartphones" and it's very, very cool.
Get the iPhone APP here from iTunes
When you create your business "tag", it's really a type of bar code like what you find on everyday items that you purchase, except this is geared mostly towards businesses, churches, restaurants, but also products, etc. Really any physical location or product can create or carry one of these and after you do make it, you print out your code and place it in the front window or under some sort of protected area from the weather elements, or place it on your product. When placing this tag on a product, you can give the buyer lots of other information they may wish to know or even show a video. Then, when someone who has downloaded the Tag Reader APP passes by or picks up your item, they simply press the APP on their phone and the phone's camera opens, which immediately reads whatever is on that tag and it can be saved to your phone. It's also great for reading reviews and putting more information onto something that normally doesn't have the space for it!
I created a Reader Tag for our church and when you point your phone at the tag, it opens up our church website with all of the information people need to know.
Other forms of communication you can create on your personal tag are videos (as mentioned above), you can send out mass messages to everyone who has pointed their smartphone at your APP and send them updates, etc. Businesses that are using this bar code APP include Real Estate offices, museums and attractions, musicians, book publishers, public transit systems, and the list goes on and on. Some people are putting a tag on their business cards and then giving out whatever information they want to convey.
At first I was a bit confused on how we would use this APP and why we would use it? But when you figure many people come across your business after hours or are just not sure what your store offers, this APP allows you to tell potential customers what it is you have in order for them to decide if they want to be a patron or not. It allows you to expand the information you have available - you can even create one for something you have for sale, like a car or boat. Think of the information highway you can open up with a tag! For example, our church's tag like I mentioned above, goes directly to our website, which I feel is the best amount of information to give someone checking out a new church. But for a restaurant, you may wish to place your top selling or featured meals for the day or a Real Estate office can have their APP bring up the hottest neighborhoods to buy in or featured houses they have for sale. The possibilities are endless.
This tag is free to create and you can create however many tags you wish and rotate them however you feel.
> Just create your free account
> Click to create your desired tag
> Go to your Tag Manager to see what you have active
> Then click the link "Render" and a window pops up - (image is shown). Select whichever tag image you prefer to print and put in your front window, on your business card or product. I decided to print the 2nd choice - which is the plain tag. Then I opened the image in Photoshop and added text telling people to just point and shoot their smartphone at the tag for more information.
> Tags can be made to any size you choose and used on product packages too.
You may also choose to create a custom tag design and not use the colored triangles that are generated from your business information.
It really is simple to create, so don't let all of the "stuff" fool you. And what better way to reach the masses than by using a Tag for your business?
Please note: The tag I included in this article is a working tag that goes to our church website. I am not self-promoting myself or the church, but showing that these tags work. I could have included any number of tags but decided to use the one I created so readers could see it in action. And I surely didn't want to place a tag here and have it go to a site that was questionable.
Here is further information about the Microsoft Tag