Tuesday, April 11, 2006

ScanBuy Offers Store Scanner

This is one of the physical world connection companies I interviewed at CTIA. What the article fails to mention is that ScanBuy has a new CEO.

Jonathan Bulkeley, the former CEO of Barnes and Noble, is now running ScanBuy.

From Red Herring Cameraphone as store scanner

Turning mobile camera phones into barcode scanners in the palms of consumers is hardly a no-brainer. It’s easy to imagine faster technologies, such as RFID scanners in phones, supplanting ScanBuy’s innovation, which relies on a steady hand and a focused lens.

But ScanBuy does have an advantage. The New York City-based company is zeroing in on markets like the United States and Latin America, places where mobile phones are used for little more than voice and text.



ScanBuy is not profitable yet, but it has filed 25 patents. It was that proprietary technology that lured Hudson Ventures.

To win a toehold in this emerging market, ScanBuy is starting out with a comparison-shopping product. ScanBuy has hooked up with engines like PriceGrabber so that its consumers can check online prices while browsing in brick-and-mortar stores.

In Spain, Mr. Attia has struck a deal with CodiLink , a mobile marketing firm that counts companies like Audi and H&M as clients. CodiLink has licensed ScanBuy’s technology and is building mobile marketing campaigns around it.

Although he can’t name any of Codi-Link’s clients, Mr. Chesser says one of them is a grocery chain that plans to offer mobile coupons that can be redeemed in any of its 50,000 stores

Before I get a flurry of complaints, YES an add-on lens is STILL required to read a 1D barcode with their application.

They are doing demos with carriers in the Far East and in Latin America.

The thing I found most interesting, is that ScanBuy brought in someone that experienced the shift from bricks to clicks. He was right in the middle of the electronic transformation. He agreed that this technology, industry, concept will be huge.

I will post my summary of what I think is happening with PWC and mobile marketing shortly.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Scanbuy's filed 25 patents? I thought they were being sued by Neomedia over patent infringement...

Anonymous said...

ScanBuy's getting a lot of press lately but I keep wondering why no one's reporting that it is being sued by Neomedia for patent infringement and that Neomedia's patents were filed prior to ScanBuys' patents. Recent article in Red Herring Online also failed to mention this important lawsuit.

Anonymous said...

Anybody can file for a slew of patents in an area. Thing is, if you are late to the game, all the basic patents likely have already been awarded, and the patents you can still get are probably mostly worthless.

I'd guess this is true of Scanbuy.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I'll never understand companies like Scanbuy, and a number of other companies in this space, who pretend that patents just don't exist, and that the piper won't have to be paid when they infringe. And what kind of savvy investor would put their money into such a company, with its fate hanging under an axe?

You'd think that, say, the recent settlement between RIM and NTP for over $600M, and the very real threat of an injunction, might give them all pause. But no.

I guess Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

Scott Shaffer said...

I haven't found any wireless carriers, in the States, that have implemented a barcode scanning application using a camera phone yet.

Anonymous said...

Scanbuy is eons ahead of NeoMedia. They've done what NeoMedia has failed to do and that is to obtain clients with a useable product and enter the Asian or European markets.

If Scanbuy's method is different from NeoMedia's method then NeoMedia is in trouble. Why can't Fort Meyers aquire clients? If they had clients for their Paperclick prodcut maybe we would be seeing NeoMedia's name all over the place.

It's time for Fort Meyers to sh!it or get off the pot!!!

Anonymous said...

As you have pointed out before PP, price comparison won't be that big app for PWC success. As far as patents go, we'll just have to wait for the fat lady to sing. (Don't you wish the NEOM worrywarts would knock off the handringing?) Scanbuy most likely will have to license the IP from NEOM in the end--smartest strategy for Scanbuy may be to join the party over there, if possible. Perhaps that's the reason for a CEO change?

Anonymous said...

Comparison shopping isn't the only use for barcode scanning and if comparison shopping isn't going to bring in huge $ for Scanbuy the licensing fees will bring in even less for NEOM.

Compare NTP income to RIM income. RIM comes out ahead. Why? I'm sure you can figure it out.

If Neom won $600 mil. in an infringement suit that would be less than $.50 a share at the current O/S. Mind you the $600 mil. was for past years. It wouldn't be what RIM pays every year for the use of the IP.

Anonymous said...

You're ignoring what NTP didn't force on RIM, but very likely could have: an injunction.

Thing is, Neomedia, unlike NTP, is in a position to push Scanbuy out of the business and take it over if it chooses; it has its own technology to do what Scanbuy does. The threat of an injunction can make competitors have to either exit the business or do it at a rate that really only profits the patent holder.

This, for example, is exactly what Symbol did for many years with its patents on laser scanners. Yes, there were other players, but Symbol dominated and took a huge chunk of the margins whenever a competitor, forced to sign an onerous licensing deal, sold a laser scanner.

Again, Denial is river in Egypt.

Anonymous said...

If I were Neomedia, the one thing I'd worry about is that there might be other basic patents out there in the same space that its competitors could lay hold of. THAT would be a real threat, because it could enable effective countersuits, as opposed to the utterly lameass countersuit Scanbuy launched against them. That could prevent Neomedia from dominating this space, because it could force Neomedia into a draw against them, ending in cross licensing with no money changing hands and each able to proceed.

Anonymous said...

Interesting follow up to post at 12:00 by anonymous,
"At 12:00 PM, April 11, 2006, Anonymous said…

You're ignoring what NTP didn't force on RIM, but very likely could have: an injunction.

Thing is, Neomedia, unlike NTP, is in a position to push Scanbuy out of the business and take it over if it chooses; it has its own technology to do what Scanbuy does. The threat of an injunction can make competitors have to either exit the business or do it at a rate that really only profits the patent holder.

This, for example, is exactly what Symbol did for many years with its patents on laser scanners. Yes, there were other players, but Symbol dominated and took a huge chunk of the margins whenever a competitor, forced to sign an onerous licensing deal, sold a laser scanner."


Interesting in that Symbol has licensed NEOM IP. Symbol has recognized NEOM IP in this space; and IMO the new CEO of ScanBuy recognizes the same. (Perhaps partly the reason for the CEO replacement?) If indeed NEOM owns this bridge and sure seems they do, ScanBuy for all intents and purposes is out of business if they're found guilty in court of patent infringement at treble damages - best move for them IMO is a settlement.