Today we’re going to kick off our examination of the merger of physical and digital commerce by taking a look at the evolution of point-of-sale technology, beginning with the creation of the barcode and the cash register, progressing through to the adoption of modern e-commerce solutions. The first research into automatically interacting with products was undertaken  by Bernard Silver and Norman Woodland beginning in the late 1940’s. Over the next decade...

Today we’re excited to release a brand new blog series that will take an in-depth look at why NFC will never replace the barcode on product packaging. NFC has been the talk of the mobile payment world for the past two years now, ever since companies like Google and Isis—the joint venture between AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon—created NFC-based mobile wallets. In this context, many people also promote the use of...

Coop@home, the highly popular app of the Swiss national retail chain Coop, is disrupting the world of grocery shopping by combining mobile shopping with home delivery. In extending the traditional supermarket experience with virtual shelves, the experience of grocery shopping is completely transformed and waiting in line is no longer necessary. The grocery store is now everywhere there is a product or everywhere product information can be displayed. Imagine turning...

Today we’re excited to announce a brand new blog series that takes a look at how the marketplace is transforming as the digital and physical worlds converge. The series will start in past with the evolution of point-of-sale technology, and major transitions such as the creation of the barcode and the advent of the internet. We will then move to the present, where mobile devices serve as an entry point...

Ever since GPS-enabled smartphones hit the scene, developers have created a variety of location-based service apps that interact with the things around them. Despite similar intentions and technology, location-based service apps have taken many different routes, ironically leaving them in all different positions across the app landscape. Given the recent success of Instagram and some other developments in the market, we’d like to share the tales of some of these...

Researchers at Princeton and the University of Illinois have recently released a fascinating research paper that details a scanning system for recognizing animals through their unique markings. The GNU licensed Stripespotter system is an open source project designed to automate animal recognition for professionals studying them in the wild by recognizing patterns of pixels in digital photographs. Traditionally scientists have had to use tracking mechanisms or excrement to identify the...

We stumbled upon a fascinating new use case for barcodes in the news recently—robots that use QR codes to track their location! Kiva Systems is a manufacturer of robots that specialize in managing inventories at shipping centers and warehouses. The robots travel around the shipping center picking up, organizing and delivering products to workers. In the image below note the little white squares that appear on the ground. Yes, you...

QR Codes seem to be popping up everywhere these days, compelling passerby’s to whip out their phones and scan. As the QR code becomes more commonplace, we’ve also been seeing them pop up in some not so common places. We wanted to share our top picks for the wackiest QR codes we’ve came across.   1.  QR Codes on Tombstones… This is about as strange as it gets. For $10,000 the Japanese company...