Adweek has a thin story about the fact that advertisers and agencies are experimenting with Google Glass, which only makes sense; if there’s a digital agency not experimenting with Glass, they’ll be out of business shortly. But it gives us a hook for something we saw last week at Mobile World Congress: using Glass to scan barcodes.
It turns out that supermarket UPC codes are an endangered species. Within five years, the retail and distribution industries will have moved to 3D barcodes, like the ones you see on UPS packages. These new barcodes provide much more information than simple SKU or product ID. They can include data like expiration dates, point of origin, and distribution chain. The implication is that each individual box or bundle of produce will carry a different barcode, which is why a more information-dense format is called for.
The organization that controls barcodes, GS1, had a small demo at MWC, where they had Google Glass snapping a sample new barcodes and returning all the information associated with it. Could the exact demo been done with a Vuzix visor or even a smartphone app? Of course. But Glass is cool, so Glass it was.