JAB Code

Colorful instead of black and white – and much more powerful than before: the new JAB Code could replace conventional black-and-white barcodes and matrix codes in the future – in logistics, too. Photo: Fraunhofer SIT

QR codes and barcodes have been around in logistics sector logistics for a long time – after all, every well-functioning transport chain is essentially based on fast data acquisition. Here these little helpers serve as simple and ingenious tools, without which the automated identification of goods would be quite impossible. With the new JAB Code, the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT) has advanced the technology to the next stage: this recently introduced, colorful code offers a particularly high data density, which results in a high degree of protection against counterfeiting.


JAB stands for “Just Another Bar Code” but in fact this new development comes with a host of other possibilities. The code consists of freely selectable colors, and it can assume different shapes. In the future – and with cameras featuring the right specifications – up to eight times more information can be stored in a JAB Code than in conventional black-and-white barcode or matrix code. This would eliminate the need for forwarding data to websites or databases, as is done today.


The development of the JAB Code was commissioned by the German Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), and it is currently being implemented as a DIN standard, as is customary in the Federal Republic of Germany. It will subsequently also be implemented as an international standard according to ISO. The code can already be generated using off-the-shelf printers and read with any smartphone.

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