Thursday, March 24, 2005

pwc ScanBuy Interview

Can you briefly describe what Scanbuy and Scanzoom offer to consumers and corporations.

In a nutshell, the unique working bridge between the real world and the Internet world.

Scanbuy’s technology is based on an extremely robust and protected barcode scanning software for camera phone. We want to link these two worlds because both brings a amazing user experience to consumers and businesses. You keep the touch and feel of the product from the retailer store and the benefits of the Internet for the information (price, comments, comparison, etc), everything you could not get from the retailer.

Scanbuy is the company, Optical Intelligence is the technology and ScanZoom is our brand for the consumer offer. We already offer a limited version of our mobile gateway to consumer through our dedicated web site ScanZoom .

OP3 is a partner representing Scanbuy’s technology in its region, focusing on integration of our technology in Fortune 1000 and mobile operators.
What makes us different is our past, our present and our future. We come from the applications development in the barcode scanning, we understand the camera phone decoding complexity and focus on a complete offering turnkey solution for all segments interested in this technology.

What is the biggest obstacle your company and this industry is facing?

Our knowledge is technology. We are a butch of geeks called Early Adopters tired to wait the day operators will understand the magic between this new generations of devices. Those new phones have an eye. They see what you see, what you want, what you desire. They can tell you in snap what is this product about. It is time it is happening. It is time mobile operators engaged in what we called the ScanCommerce industry and provide a real service to their consumers. Can you believe we still have to learn to type of this little keyboard to access a product online? Our biggest obstacle is TIME but we are getting there.

Corporations or consumers, who are you catering your business to?

We come from the B2B. We work with companies that want to provide a simple – stupid proof- application to their users. I don’t think a mobile phone is dedicated to a business or consumer anymore, it is everybody’s life. You have a wallet, you also have ALWAYS a phone with you. Out target market is everyone who could see a barcode around him… which means everyone!

What is taking service providers so long to implement this?

First, understanding the benefits of the technology. Second the complexity of the backend with a barcoded database. Third the consumer behaviors aspect. Fourth, the business model. It is new. We are like the early 90’s for the search engine. The business model is not clear for everyone yet but the need is there!

Has the search engine industry recognized how your product , and this new industry, will be the catalyst for mobile marketing? (ie. Have any search engines contacted you about any business relationships?)

Of course, it is a no-brainer for most search engines and comparison engines to link with our technology. I would refer to the 60 minutes about Google
Google 60 Minutes .

“And you take that device and you wand it over the product code, and you see comparison prices from Google of three other stores that are within a mile, OK? That’s power. That’s search. But no one has quite figured out that. That’s also the future.”
Linking the physical world to the Internet using what the most common link: the barcode!

When do we see the ability to click on a barcode/2d code and purchase/retrieve info happening?

An additional 2 years before it is common user experience. Million phones are already in production with our technology. By the time they will be on the market, you can count on 2 years with hundred of applications available.

Every company has at least one, what is your biggest fear.

Growing too fast. From 5 years of difficult time, I hope we will have time to solidify our offer and time to grow efficiently. Offers are there for acquisition. You don’t know Scanbuy yet. Let us take the time to make it a commodity on every phone before we become a little piece of a large group.

If you could land one specific customer/client, who would it be?

Nokia! This company is too big.

Does Scanbuy have an application that can read RFID tags?

We are linking today two worlds based on what is the most known codes in the world. You don’t need to explain a barcode to a Chinese, English or American consumers. You don’t need to translate it either. Today it is a barcode solution, tomorrow it will be based on EPC. Our research team already have a very interesting set of applications for those who wants to jump to the RFID but reality is when you start an RFID project, nowadays there is a high probability your project will end up based on barcode At least it is our experience in this domain today. Cost, implementation, etc

If you had to sum up Scanbuy in one sentence, it would be.

The world will become your showroom! Get ready!

Some of the pluses I see. It looks like the application is geared toward consumers. A new technology will get adopted faster if consumers want it, not if it is pushed on them. It’s available now to download. It seems like ScanBuy is geared toward the consumer with their app.

To understand why technologies take off faster with consumer demand versus corporate, I recommend reading Brand Hijack by Alex Wipperfurth.

More options have to be offered than price comparison though. A question I would like to know is that when I click on a barcode with ScanZoom do I only get a price comparison service, or what else can be offered.

All of these companies face a similar problem, getting the program on the phone. That’s the biggest hurdle I see for adoption. A new technology can’t get marketing buzz if people can’t “play” with it.

I like Olivier Attia’s comment about this technology being similar to the search engine in the 90’s. Initially search engines were neat sites, then advertisers realized the search engine would be their main platform for advertising. I see this pattern again w/ barcode recognition.


Anonymous said...

You asked some very good questions, but you left out one extremely important question, and that is:

How does Neomedia's intellectual property help or hinder you? Do you see yourself as a competitor to Neomedia for deals with Nokia, Ericcson, and others?

Scott Shaffer said...

From original post..
"One question that I am not including involves each company discussing the competition. I asked this question of each, and after reviewing the responses and some comments I received, I felt it would be wise to exclude from the interview.

I realize some of the players are in legal battles with each other and I didn't think it would be wise to include any comments to such."

Anonymous said...

Missed that. Thank you. There's a lot of anxiety about it right now, in lieu of the april settlement.

Anonymous said...

Has any of the companies you've interviewed (or will) heard of your blogsite? And if so, has your blogsite "Pondering Primate" made it easier to conduct these interviews? And lastly, do these companies ever read your blogsite and have acknowledged your blogsite publicly or privately to you?

Good job on the interview!


Anonymous said...

While coneptually the Scanbuy technology is a good idea it leaves a lot to be desired from a users' view point. Using their application I was barely succesful in getting the barcode read - after at least 7 attempts. It works well in a lab setting" or on 2x4 business card, but not in real life. What to me is much more accurate and easy is the ability to just key in the barcode off the product. Took me 10 seconds or less!