Matrix codes function like two-dimensional bar codes, and contain much more information. For this reason, matrix codes are widely used in business. Scanning software on a smartphone can determine the nature of the information. For example, if the matrix code contains a phone number, the scanning software will dial the number. If the matrix code contains a URL, it will open the associated Web page.
Since January 2011, Wisconsin legislative proposals (bills, amendments, and resolutions) have displayed a matrix code that contains a URL. With an Internet-connected smartphone, you can scan the matrix code to display an associated Web page. If the proposal has been introduced, the matrix code will link to the bill status Web page. If the proposal has not been introduced, the matrix code will link to a page that reads, “No legislative proposal with that LRB number has been introduced. Wisconsin statutes require that bills, amendments, and resolutions remain confidential until they are introduced.”
Many smartphones that are equipped with a camera, an Internet connection and code-scanning software can read matrix codes. Matrix code readers are available for a number of mobile phones, including Android-based phones, some models of RIM’s BlackBerry, Apple’s iPhone, and some LG and Nokia models. Although the LRB cannot endorse any particular phone or software, the following are examples of scanning applications that work with some brands of cell phones: NeoReader, 2DSense, ScanLife, QuickMark, BeeTagg, MobileTag, AT&TScanner, and ZXing. Many of these applications are free.
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