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Fwd: Thoughts on current discussion around QR codes

From: Christopher Allen <ChristopherA@lifewithalacrity.com>
Date: Sun, 16 Feb 2020 03:23:22 -0800
Message-ID: <CACrqygBYE4MLCj9xALAZZGei_AYGrVAz_d6HhTGAZvDOQXOvxg@mail.gmail.com>
To: Credentials Community Group <public-credentials@w3.org>
Cc: Wolf McNally <wolf@wolfmcnally.com>, "phil.archer@gs1.org" <phil.archer@gs1.org>
---------- Forwarded message ---------
Date: Sun, Feb 16, 2020 at 12:35 AM
Subject: Thoughts on current discussion around QR codes
To: DID WG (public) <public-did-wg@w3.org>

Dear all,

Rather than jump into the current thread I thought I'd make a separate
contribution to this discussion.

When Christopher showed me the idea of an animated QR code in Amsterdam
recently my immediate reaction was, er... well, I guess you could do
that but it's not something that would be seen as useful in the GS1
world (i.e. supply chains, point of sale systems etc. where barcodes are
used billions of times a day). I've spoken about it to GS1 colleagues
since then and the reaction varies from ... well, let's just say no one
I've spoken to thinks that animated QR codes can be a serious
proposition. Scans have to be quick and easy. Making it so you have to
hold the scanner over the code for a relatively prolonged period of time
while it cycles through different screens is not tenable.

QR is an old technology, designed to carry car part numbers, and has
proved very useful for cyber-physical interaction [1], but it's not the
be all and end all. It's not even the only barcode recognised by
smartphones, which increasingly also recognise Data Matrix [2]. The
Shape-Detection API covers a much wider range [3] and there are good
libraries for barcode decoding [4].

If you want to use an optical or RF data carrier, you will be limited by
the capacity of that system. If the data you want to convey exceeds that
capacity, you need to reduce your payload, use a higher-capacity data
carrier, or both. There are higher capacity optical data carriers. In
particular, JAB might be relevant [5]. That's basically a QR code that
uses colour to increase the capacity and is on its way to being an ISO
standard. My colleagues in China are behind another bar code, Han Xin
[6], which also has a higher capacity than QR.

Please jettison, forget, and generally bury the idea of an animated QR code.


[1] https://www.qrcode.com/en/history/
[2] https://www.iso.org/standard/44230.html
[3] https://wicg.github.io/shape-detection-api/
[4] https://github.com/zxing/zxing
[5] https://jabcode.org/
[6] https://www.iso.org/standard/69321.html

Phil Archer
Director, Web Solutions, GS1

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Received on Sunday, 16 February 2020 11:23:47 UTC

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