Sunday, April 01, 2007

Camera Phones Connect Bar Codes To The Net

NY Times has a story on Physical World Connection titled Bar codes talk to your cell phone .

They discuss a few of the applications, and companies, that are using 2d codes as physical world hyperlinks. However, this story fails to address some recent events that are helping to determine which companies are gaining traction quicker than others.

The most promising way to link cellphones with physical objects is a new generation of bar codes: square-shaped mosaics of black and white boxes that can hold much more information than traditional bar codes. The cameras on cellphones scan the codes, and then the codes are translated into videos, music or text on the phone screens.

In Japan, the codes did not become mainstream until the largest cellphone companies started loading the code readers on all new phones a few years ago. Now, millions of people have the capability built into their phones, and businesses, in turn, are using them all over — on billboards, street signs, published materials and even food packaging
.

A couple significant events took place in the last couple weeks that I feel should be included. These events should allow Physical World Connection (PWC) to get adopted quicker.

First, 3GVision, which has empowered more than two-thirds of the handsets in Japan, announced they are taking their market-leading direct-to-mobile-web barcode solution worldwide.

A key issue facing adoption for Physical World Connection is what 2d code and scanning application should be used. Will there, or is there a "standard" 2d code?

The next event, and in my opinion the biggest catalyst for PWC, DuPont Packaging & Industrial Polymers (P&IP) announced they will be licensing Scanbuy’s interactive 2D (two dimensional) barcode technology for packaging applications.

DuPont, probably the largest consumer good packaging company in the world, can create the 2d code "standard" on all consumer good packaging for mobile devices going forward.

Some of the biggger market consumer items that could be "turned on" immediately include various beverage bottles (water, soda, beer), just about any item you find in a supermarket, home improvement store and mall.

DuPont also provides packaging for the fast-food entities. This is an area I would look for mobile marketing campaigns.

When DuPont starts offering 2d codes (physical world hyperlinks) on the numerous packaging items AND brands they represent, this will eliminate one of the biggest hurdles for PWC. The decison of which 2d code (barcode) and which barcode scanning application will already be made for brands and mobile marketing companies.

For an example. The 2d codes placed on a softdrink bottle DuPont produces aren't just for Coke, these bottles are the same ones used by every soft drink brand.

The largest consumer packaging good company will force the others (phone manuf, wireless carriers) to adapt/implement their business plans around this standard

Dupont will also be creating the 21st Century Barcode .

After meeting with most of the physical world connection companies this week at CTIA, and a couple wireless carriers, the picture is getting much clearer.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

That's an interesting article in the NYT Scott. I have myself said publicly that Dupont is a BIG packaging player, providing just the kind of broad-spectrum packaging you are talking about, and that the Dupont/Scanbuy project sounded like a win for Scanbuy in the mobile advertising arena.

But not too long ago you commented on MC2's (Mobile Code Consortium's) recent endeavors, asking what sort of agenda the MC2 participants might have, and implied that their agenda could be to try and force a standard on the mobile marketing/advertising arena.

Now this week:

"When DuPont starts offering 2d codes (physical world hyperlinks) on the numerous packaging items AND brands they represent, this will eliminate one of the biggest hurdles for PWC. The decison of which 2d code (barcode) and which barcode scanning application will already be made for brands and mobile marketing companies."

and, later ...

"The largest consumer packaging good company will force the others (phone manuf, wireless carriers) to adapt/implement their business plans around this standard"

Huh?

These statements are confusing at best, could you clarify please?:

"For an example. The 2d codes placed on a softdrink bottle DuPont produces aren't just for Coke, these bottles are the same ones used by every soft drink brand.

Soft drink bottles out there used by every soft drink brand are the same shape and size? Perhaps I misunderstood you.

Are you talking about embossing a 2D code on the plastic bottle itself? (What happened to printing on a label?) Are you saying that Coke, Pepsi, Jones Soda, etc etc, they ALL want the SAME 2D code embossed on their Dupont-produced bottles, a 2D code which by virtue of its "same" design would take anyone clicking on it to THE SAME WEBSITE, regardless of brand?

I think some clarification on your comments is needed.

jonesieatl

Scott Shaffer said...

DuPont wouldn't put the same 2d code on every bottle,that wouldn't make sense. They would have the ability TO place a 2d code on every bottle.

DuPont takes a lot of the guess work out of what code will be used to connect consumer packaging to the Internet.

The concept of scanning a 1d code and going to the Net was easy to accept because the 1d codes were already on every packaged good. The "standard" was already decided.

I am suggesting that when DuPont starts printing 2d codes on their vast packaging products, they will be creating the mobile code standard.

Your physical world hyperlink "distribution" issue has been resolved. Soon, billions of 2d codes on packaging will occur, and because current phones can read these codes, mobile marketing campaigns including PWC will gain traction.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the clarification on that "same bottles thing, I figured that's what you had to mean, but wanted to be sure.

"creating" does sound much better than "forcing". Perhaps then it is acceptable after all that MC2 is working with many interested parties to "create" standards, with much forethought being given to making these ultimate standards as user-friendly and as enticing as possible to wireless carriers, advertisers/brand managers and customers/cell-phone users.

Absolutely, PWC will gain traction if billions of 2d codes start showing up on packaging, and that will be good for everybody in the space. However, as far as Dupont unilaterally creating 'the mobile code standard' as a fait accompli, we might well imagine that the Sony Betamax folks thought the same thing once upon a time.

jonesieatl

Anonymous said...

2D codes is BETAMAX for the PWC market. 1D codes are VHS. The PWC player that can offer a free software for 1D code recognition with cameraphones will be the dominating actor in this forthcoming war of the PWC market. After that (many, many years) the RFID introduction on the packaging bransch will produce mobilephones and PWC players with RFID readers and software in the phones. Nokia and Samsungs RFID phone efforts right now will never ever be standard. The 1D code is the consumers best friend for some years to come.

Scott Shaffer said...

"The 1D code is the consumers best friend for some years to come."

I think you mean the 1d code is the advertiser's best friend.

So how do you suggest connecting other physical objects to the Net that don't have a 1d code then?