Friday, March 30, 2007
PWC/PWH Becomes Commercially Practical
What you may see here is a code that offers something a little bit different than the average code. The Trillcode, developed by LARK Computers of Romania (Yes!, Romania) allows the user of the code development tool to insert information ... and here is the kicker - graphic identification image files. That's right - LOGO's!
Trillcode beta test tool allows one to create a PWC/PWH with a logo embedded in the field. Image Credit: LARK Computers
Now, because the Trillcode allows one to place graphic identification information into the Physical World Connection/Hyperlink, the process of using the phone and "grabbing code" becomes a little more intuitive.
Hypothetically, a national franchise service enterprise can now reinforce their logo and elevate their brand awareness through the use of Trillcode cellphone connection codes.
ROOTER-MAN Logo "As Seen On TV" embedded into a Trillcode that contains contact information. Image Credit: ROOTER-MAN and Trillcode via Symblogogy
This from a press release issued by LARK Computers (March 22, 2007) -
Today Lark Computers, a Romanian company, introduced the second version of its Trillcode reader. The new release greatly enhance the maximum content length decoding ability, to reach 210 characters on medium-high-end phones. Also it is the first time when a mobile barcode reader is used to process and send order forms or play melodies. The next version of the reader application will double the currently maximum values.
Mr. Cozmin Tircob, Managing Director of Lark Computers said: "We are looking to embed an entire application inside the barcode. Our future product, currently under development, will benefit from the extended storing capacity of the Trillcode. This will give our barcode another dimension and will allow companies using the Trillcode encoder to build in minutes a customized mobile application and deploy it in a barcode."
The application can be used to briefly present the company, products, services and allow clients to order or send feedbacks from "one click away". There will be options to receive news or advertisements from the company if a network connection is available.
The Trillcode reader is available as a free download at http://www.trillcode.com/download.html and can be tested at http://www.trillcode.com/samples.html.
Also it's possible to make your own vCard code (http://www.trillcode.com/encoding.html) with picture.
Not above self-promotion, Symblogogy took a stab at it. If we can do it, so can you. Go to the test sites provided above and check it out for yourself.
Sunday, March 25, 2007
In a second of now a two part series (first part titled "Simple Technology Made Complex") - a blender manufacturer becomes a YouTube awards nominee through taking its blender ... blending ANYTHING!
Here is an example of how one can take a complex technology and make it simple.
Complex electronic communications computers (cellphones) that, today, have the possibility of being configured with a touchscreen, camera/imager, laser barcode scanner, WiFi, Bluetooth, IRDA, Windows Mobile 5.0, MP3 Player, and satellite GPS made simple ... as in DUST!
Gives a whole new meaning to the coined expression "Physical World Connection"!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
Biometric Facial Recognition In Three Dimensions
Not just a photo, or an algorithm analyzing a simple X, Y axis, or a PIN number process ... No, not for this Japanese company. What they were really looking for is a system that delivered a sort of "DNA" as in Dynamic Name Association process.
Actual DNA takes way too long but a new type of biometric that goes way beyond simple face recognition seemed to fit the bill.
3D facial recognition system uses structured lighting to create a facial grid of 40,000 measurable data points. Image Credit: Bioscrypt
Face recognition that uses a full three dimensional mapping technique (the first ever of its type) using sub-micron mapping points offered by Bioscrypt, an enterprise access control solution provider, is capable of passive recognition with high performance results in real life environments – typically all that is needed is a glance in the direction of the reader anywhere from 3-6 feet away (video below).
This from SecureIDNews -
Bioscrypt's facial recognition selected by Japanese agency for access control
SecureIDNews Wednesday, March 21 2007
Forget ID cards, PINs or 20th century keys, just your face will do. At least that's the premise behind Bioscrypt's VisionAccess 3D Face Reader, which is being deployed by a Japanese government agency. The system will, at sub-second speed, perform multiple facial scans against a database of stored images and corresponding data, granting authorized persons access.
Bioscrypt Inc., a leading provider of enterprise access control solutions, today announced the deployment of its VisionAccess 3D Face Readers at a Japanese Government Agency located in Tokyo. Employees will be identified based on a face match only, without the need for ID cards, keys or PIN technology. In using only biometric identification, the system eliminates the risk of tokens and keys being lost, stolen or misused.
Invariance to Angles - Real-time video feed adds to the richness of 3D parameters, performing recognition with full head motion of up to 30’ degrees each direction allowing for flexibility is user positioning. Image Credit: Bioscrypt
The VisionAccess 3D Face Reader, the world's first three-dimensional facial identification/verification reader with active user feedback, was chosen by the systems integrator, Barrier Reef, as the biometric component of the physical access system to be deployed at the Tokyo based agency because of the unique combination of accuracy and speed of recognition that the system provides.
"The facial recognition units monitor the entry and exit of hundreds of people each day without failure," stated Haruo Kosugi, Director, Barrier Reef. "The agency is extremely pleased with the results and plans on expanding the program to other agencies within the next few months."
"Government agencies around the world continue to rely on Bioscrypt to provide leading edge biometric physical access control technologies to verify the identity of individuals who enter their facilities and with the recent introduction of 3D face solutions, Bioscrypt now offers a greater range of products to meet the demands of partners and end-user prospects," said Robert L. Williams, President and CEO Bioscrypt. "Barrier Reef has proven to be a valued partner for us in the Japanese market and we look forward to continued success with them going forward."
Bioscrypt's advanced 3D facial recognition system uses structured lighting to create a facial grid of 40,000 measurable data points. The system performs multiple facial scans and comparisons against a database of stored images and corresponding data, and conducts accurate identification at sub-second speeds, from which authorized persons are confirmed for access.
A typical secured space door access application demonstration:
"Look Ma, no hands!" - The advantage of biometric facial recognition in three dimensions.
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Auto ID > Symbology > Biometrics > Photo Pattern Recognition
What is Photo Pattern Recognition (PPR)?
PPR is the ability to render a still photograph into an algorithm discernable identification symbol that then can be used for all of the cellphone applications that are being popularized in Japan and Korea to connect people, places, and things.
This method of taking a photo to create a unique symbology/identifier was first theorized in a paper introduced at an IEEE conference in 1996. The paper proposed that this “photo signature” approach would be best applied to the field of security identification and secure/restricted entry applications – but what do engineers know?
Microsoft Research has other ideas for this “photo signature” and is in an alpha test during development. This developmental program is called Lincoln and anyone can apply to be a part of the test.
In order to participate, one needs to register and then pick a photo to use as a test to be used in a database that can be accessed by all who are in the test. Microsoft, for its part, has scanned in over 850 DVD covers so that anyone in the test would be able to take their cellphone or a Pocket PC with a camera (programmed with the Windows Mobile 5.0 OS) and with a WiFi hookup or cellphone could run a demonstration.
With the programming downloaded into the device one could snap a shot of the DVD cover, and be taken to a web location that describes the content of the DVD (movie reviews, runtime, genre, and etc.).
The test is not perfect and will not run on all Windows Mobile 5.0 devices at this time.
Excerpts from the Microsoft Research Lincoln web portal -
Image Credit: Microsoft Corporation
What Can I Use Lincoln For?
With Lincoln you could...
- Link your band's concert poster to an MP3 download
- Link a postcard to your holiday photos on flickr.com
- Link restaurant signage to an online menu
- Link a CD cover to your own review
- Link your yearbook photo to your blog
Lincoln was designed to recognize photos of printed materials. The material should contain large text, pictures or graphics.
Lincoln will not work well on photos of 3D objects such as faces, although it would work on a photo of a photo of a face (like the yearbook example above).
Try Lincoln at Your Local Video Store Today!
To illustrate Lincoln's usefulness we've added images of over 850 DVD covers and linked them to movie reviews on Amazon.com.
That's about all the titles you're likely to find "on the wall" at the video rental store.
So feel free to take your Smartphone (and Lincoln) with you the next time you're in the mood for a movie and let the Amazon reviewers help you decide what to watch!
How Do I Search Using Photos on Lincoln?
There are two ways to search using photos:
1) Use the Lincoln mobile client (available for download) on your Windows Mobile 5.0 Smartphone or Pocket PC device.
This client allows you to capture a photo and instantly search Lincoln for related content.
2) Download your photos to your computer from your phone or digital camera and use the Search feature of this web site.
Just select one of your downloaded photos and Lincoln will automatically search for related content.
How Do I Add an Image to Lincoln?
To become an Author on Lincoln you first create an account for yourself (see opposite on this page) by simply choosing an author name and a password.
Once logged on you'll be automatically sent to the "Add Image" page. Then just select an image on your computer, provide some relevant information such as web links or comments, and you're done!
You can manage the images you have authored on the "My Images" page.
Why Should I Add an Image to Lincoln?
When you add an image to Lincoln you automatically own the "top" link for that image.
Your link (and comment) cannot be voted to a lower ranking, so other users will always see your link first.
On traditional search engines you need to pay to secure the top slot, but on Lincoln we're giving it to you for FREE !
Excerpts of a review from Technology Review - Physical World Hyperlink through photo pattern recognition or "photo signature". Image Credit: Technology Review
Mobile Web Searches Using Pictures
A new Microsoft application lets people search the Internet on their cell phones using a camera instead of a keypad.
By Kate Greene - Technology Review - Tuesday, March 13, 2007
Searching for information on your cell phone by typing keywords can be cumbersome. But now researchers at Microsoft have developed a software prototype called Lincoln that they hope will make Web searches easier. According to Larry Zitnick, a Microsoft researcher who works on the project, phones equipped with the software could, for example, access online movie reviews by snapping pictures of movie posters or DVD covers and get product information from pictures of advertisements in magazines or on buses.
"The main thing we want to do is connect real-world objects with the Web using pictures," says Zitnick. "[Lincoln] is a way of finding information on the Web using images instead of keywords."
The software works by matching pictures taken on phones with pretagged pictures in a database. It provides the best results when the pictures are of two-dimensional objects, such as magazine ads or DVD covers, Zitnick says. (See the accompanying chart to find out how compatible certain pictures are with Lincoln.) Currently, the database contains pictures of DVD covers that link to movie reviews uploaded by Microsoft researchers. However, anyone can contribute his or her pictures and links to the database, and Zitnick hopes that people will fill it with pictures and links to anything from information about graffiti art to scavenger-hunt clues. Right now, Lincoln can only be downloaded for free using Internet Explorer 6 and 7, and it can only run on smart phones equipped with Windows Mobile 5.0 and PocketPCs.
Lincoln is part of a trend to link the physical world with information on the Web, often with the help of cell-phone cameras. Nokia researchers are developing software and hardware that automatically hyperlinks buildings, storefronts, and certain people via a cell-phone camera. (See "Hyperlinking Reality via Phones.") And a handful of companies, including Mobot, based in Lexington, MA, are exploring the marketing capabilities of such technology by connecting pictures of real-world advertisements and company logos to the Web.
According to Zitnick, there are two elements that distinguish his technology from others. First is the fact that anyone can contribute images, links, and comments to the database. The second element is the type of image-recognition system that Microsoft researchers have developed, which Zitnick believes will be able to search through millions of images quickly.
At the heart of the image-recognition engine is an algorithm that analyzes a picture and creates a signature that describes the picture succinctly, using a small amount of data. This signature consists of information that describes the relative position of the pixels and the intensity of a certain feature in a picture, such as the Mona Lisa's smile. In order to make this information easily searchable, data triplets are created from groups of three features. For instance, a triplet might contain information about a close-up of the Mona Lisa's smile, cheek, and nose.
When a picture is taken, the algorithm quickly establishes these data sets and compares them with established sets for the pictures already in the database.
Symblogogy tried to have a Windows Mobile 5.0 developmental Enterprize Mobility unit from Korea get on board with Lincoln for demonstration purposes and was not successful.
As Microsoft developer Richard Hughes communicated to Symblogogy - "A few other users have reported a similar issue on the HTC Universal PPC (see http://www.modaco.com/index.php?showtopic=252971).
Our best guess at this time is that it is the WM5 phone API on these devices which is returning this error due to a problem in the underlying implementation (by the OEM) of the API."
We will wait until the Lincoln developmental team is able to overcome this issue with the API.
In the meantime, register and click away - this is another dynamic ripple in the world served through symbology.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
Thursday, March 15, 2007
A Classic Car Tri-Panel Display - Video Credit: ecj-Symblogogy
It’s All About Sight & Smell At Globalshop 2007
Just walk the floor of the Globalshop 2007 and have your senses be assaulted.
Long held as one of the most visually appealing tradeshows in the western hemisphere, Globalshop brings together every enterprise that involves itself with the design, display and promotion of spaces that sell merchandise and establish the brand reinforcement.
There were many companies that had the usual shelving and flooring treatments, but what would catch one’s attention quickly were the sense based adornments and attention getters. The most effective were those that plied one with interactive visual images or the waft of chocolate in the nose to turn ones head.
EPSON showed what could be done with a camera(s) and a special projector that displayed an image which reacted to the movement of a person or thing passing through a particular space. The projected interactive effect is quite astounding.
“The key to this is interactivity and getting the customer to stay longer in the store,” says John French, strategic business manager for digital signage at EPSON.
Virgin Entertainment Group chief marketing officer Dave Alder, finding that buzz around a promotion that marketers covet, say the signage has created quite the “talking point” in the store.
“It’s rare today to find an entertainment store that actually entertains its customers,” he says. “Unlike many other entertainment retailers, we work hard to add value to the shopping experience by adding a true sense of fun. The digitial signage marketing initiative is a significant part of this experience.”
Ohhhhhh, but for the sense of smell. Heck, one could get fat by just standing by a booth in one place all day (the smell was of a very grand and rich chocolate).
One such booth was run by a company that would be easily described as a Musak type of company (ala Xerox for copies, and Kleenex for tissues) … but don’t tell them that, they do music and a whole lot more ONE BETTER! That “one better” is a service called SCENT.
That company is the Austin, Texas based DMX and as they say in their sales mark tagline “sight. sound. science!” - in this case, they design environmental "scentscapes."
Excerpts from the DMX website -
Did you know that the largest movie theater chains pump the scent of fresh popcorn into their lobby? When they did, their popcorn sales increased by over 35-40%.
The smell of fresh baked chocolate-chip cookies, Douglas Fir Christmas Trees, and even that soft Coco Chanel No. 5 ladies perfume that your ex-girlfriend used religiously are all very strong memory triggers. They can, and do, remind you of people, places, things and events both good and bad in your life.
Because we experience the world around us with our senses, our sense of smell is every bit as important as what we see and hear.
Just as the smell of warm apple pie could comfort you and make you hungry, so could the smell of sweaty gym socks turn your stomach. As the manager of a commercial space, these environmental factors are no longer outside the scope of your control. You can shape a person’s perception and use all the most effective tools to get people to smile when they think of you.
In a world where one may be bombarded with over 3,000 advertisements each day, why not take advantage of the one type of communication vehicle that can’t be blocked out and THE one that you know people will remember?
As DMX would be keen to say – Differentiate yourself and be remembered. Get SCENT!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Beauty And The Web 2.0 - Contest Meets mCode Symbology
Recently Smart Communications introduced a service to its customers that allowed the cellphone owner to gain automated connections in a streamlined symbology method they call Decode.
Decode, based on a symbology developed by Nextcode (mCode) is scanned and the customer is taken to a reference website, a bill paying process, or in this case ... a vote for a contestant in a beauty contest!
It is only a matter of time where we in the United States will be able to get away from cumbersome "texting" to photo scanning our vote for ... an American Idol contestant ... really; it may not be that far off.
MS Salesforce Automation Meets PWC Tickertape
It's weird, a throwback to a time where typed communications were the standard.
The Dow Jones Index stock trades were once communicated over a wire to a machine that printed out each transaction within minutes of the transaction happening.
This week, Microsoft held a "TechFest" where they unveiled projects that some of the engineers of the company showed off what they had been working on.
Excerpts from the Seattle Times -
Touring Microsoft's TechFest
Posted by Brier Dudley - The Seattle Times - 3-6-2007, 05:22 PM
Here are a few of the demonstrations I saw today at TechFest, the annual "science fair" being held this week by Microsoft's advanced research group.
The company gave press and bloggers an early peek at some of the exhibits before the full show opens up to employees Wednesday and Thursday. Microsoft also posted Webcasts of presentations and demos here.
Some of the projects are being shown for the first time at the event, and the researchers generally don't know if their work will ever end up in an actual product. Some could even end up in products made by other companies, since Microsoft is now licensing the research group's intellectual property.
Text2Paper, the device receives and prints short SMS messages sent from phones onto clear stickers. The labels can then be pasted onto an adjacent paper calendar, on the appropriate day. The idea is that family members could send appointments, shopping lists and other info to this system, which would most likely be mounted in a kitchen. Each printout also has a bar code that can be read by camera phones, so you can take a picture of an appointment with your phone and have it automatically synced with the device's calendar.
Technology solutions are were you can find them ... even when it makes everything old, new again.
Friday, March 02, 2007
Sex And The Web 2.0 - Or, When Denim Meets QR Code
Never has a symbology or denim jeans material ever looked so good.
This type of branding and marketing really has a way of catching ones attention. Let us not miss what is important here though, and that is? ... you ask!
Denim Code Tag (logo) example. Image Credit: Denim Code Press Release
The use of a symbology to act as a logo and a brand identification vehicle through which one is able to access additional information, videos, and even purchase goods from ones phone. One might say, with the code on the denim, these jeans are interactive.
Scan code process graphically depicted. With the code scanned, one might be directed to video images, or even a retail purchase website. Image Credit: Denim Code Press Release Website
Denim Code is a strong example of the future "Web 2.0" world to come ... where (in theory) everyone and everything will have an identifier, a symbology, a link associated with it so that people will be able to find out more information just by taking a picture with the phone camera, and the phone reaches out to a web location somewhere and displays the information that is linked.
The Denim Code, according to Christian-François Viala, one of the founders of the brand, is based on a QR Code (Quick Read) first created by Denso WAVE in Japan (for use in automobile manufacturing).
The QR Code was designed to be read at moving speeds of up to 2 meters a second making it uniquely suited for cellphone PWC/PWH (physical world connection/physical world hyperlink) applications.
The move tolerance of the QR based Denim Code allows one to catch and decode the logo on the move. Little or no technique is required by the operator of the phone camera in order to achieve the desired decoded effect!
Reference Here>> (translation in English from French - Gizmoto France)
(ht: The Pondering Primate)
Thursday, March 01, 2007
RFID “Regulation E” Payment Receipt Requirements Reviewed
Technology creep may end up becoming a threat to proof of transaction for many purchases.
The proposed dollar amount for greenlighting a transaction without a proof of purchase receipt may be small but the truth is, that number is arbitrary.
Frankly, so are the standards that govern non-signature credit card transactions, but to do away with the requirement of proof of purchase receipt at the option of the system providers and card companies appears to erode transaction accountability.
Excerpts from CR80News -
Feds may yank Regulation E's receipt requirement for small dollar transactions
Change could open floodgates for contactless and other payment cards in vending, transit, unattended locations
By Chris Corum, Editor, CR80News - February, 2007
Regulation E, the rule outlining consumer rights with regard to electronic financial transactions, can make things tough on new payment offerings – but many argue that is its mission. Electronic payment providers have to make a slew of disclosures, they have to guarantee against fraudulent usage, they have to provide periodic statements, and they have to provide receipts for transactions. But this receipt requirement may be loosening. The Federal Reserve (Fed) is considering a change that would exempt transactions under $15 from the need to provide a receipt. Big deal you say? Read on.
Here is the Fed’s summary description:
“The Board is proposing to amend Regulation E, which implements the Electronic Fund Transfer Act ... The proposed amendments would create an exception for certain small-dollar transactions from the requirement that terminal receipts be made available to consumers at the time of the transaction.”
What was some of the justification suggested for the change?
Consumers are using electronic payments where they used to use cash as the dollar value ‘threshold’ for card payments has been lowering in consumer eyes. The idea is that consumers ‘want’ to use cards to pay for things that, in the past, would have required cash. Examples include vending machines, transit tickets, parking facilities, and other small ticket items and unattended locations.
According to the proposed rule change:
“Merchants, financial institutions and payment card associations have responded to the shift in consumer preferences towards non-cash methods of payment for small-dollar transactions in various ways. Payment card associations have changed their rules to enable quicker processing of transactions for both debit and credit cards.
For example, these associations have waived the signature and personal identification number (PIN) authorization requirements for certain types of purchases under $25.
Moreover, to encourage merchant acceptance of payment cards, these associations have also reduced their debit and credit card interchange rates for certain small-dollar transactions.
The arguments against the proposed change centered on the following themes:
Consumers need receipts to keep track of expenditures, dispute incorrect charges, and reimburse expenses with employers.
The proposed changes would benefit industry but have no real value for consumers, so this is no longer a consumer protection regulation but rather an industry expansion effort.
Arguments in favor of the change centered around the fact that this could help to open up the use of the payment cards at new locations and venues, to the benefit of the modern consumer.
Additionally, many industry comments suggest that the threshold for the receipt exception be raised from $15 to $25:
Keep the amount consistent with the payment card association’s dollar value for no-signature requirements
Keep the amount consistent with common corporate travel policies for no receipt required for expense reporting purposes.
David DeMedio, commented as a representative of USA Technologies, a leading manufacturer of payment readers for unattended devices.
“Deploying a credit/debit payment option, with the requirement to provide a receipt, would be a major, if not insurmountable impediment to industry wide acceptance. In vending, for example, many of the makes and models of the estimated 8 million vending machines installed in the U.S. do not have the required space to accommodate the additional receipt printer and paper roll. Also, since the newly introduced contactless credit/debit readers utilize the existing, available power from the host vending machine, adding a receipt printer would now require an additional power source to power the printer.“
“Significant servicing issues arise with offering receipts because of the unattended, distributed nature of these machines and the infrequency in which they are serviced. Malfunctioning printers, empty paper rolls and litter from discarded receipts, which could go uncorrected for the reasons above, could actually cause the consumer to have a negative experience while purchasing from the machine, thereby negating the purpose to install the printers in the first place.”
What happens next?
According to a spokesperson for the Federal Reserve, the proposed change will follow an established process. Staff will review the comments and consider them as they prepare a final recommendation. This will be presented to a Board committee for consideration and, if approved, will be presented to the Board of Governors for final consideration.
Though a timeline is not available, other proposed changes have taken as long as eighteen months from start to finish.