Wednesday, April 11, 2007

China Uses 2D Barcodes For Mobile Ads

This article does a good job of summarizing the Chinese Physical World Connection players.

From Business Week China:Cracking the Mobile Ad Biz

The lucrative potential of the mainland's tech-starved mobile advertising market could be unlocked by two-dimensional barcodes (2d codes).

A new kind of mobile advertising technology, however, could be the key that unlocks the country's 461 million mobile phone screens to advertisers.

The technology uses two-dimensional barcodes, a more evolved cousin of the humble Universal Product Code found on groceries, to create an advertising channel with an aura of science-fiction.

Two-dimensional barcodes can be used to bridge the online and offline worlds, turning, say, a coffee table into a physical hyperlink, and your mobile phone into a giant mouse pointer. You "click" the barcode on the coffee table by taking a picture of it with the camera on your phone, and then are automatically taken online.

For a three-month period that ended in February, Chinese barcode pioneer Gmedia provided Starbucks with barcodes to display on tabletops in the chain's 50 outlets in Beijing. When a user clicked on one, they were linked to a website that allowed them to redeem a free coffee.

Another company trying to cash in on physical hyperlinking is Hong Kong-based MyClick . Although it uses a patented photo recognition technology, not barcodes, the end result is virtually identical. Any visual medium - a magazine page, billboard or television commercial - can carry an image framed by a special border. The user simply snaps a photo of the framed image.

"Advertisers will know where someone was when they clicked the ad and guess what they were doing at that moment," said Sage Brennan of research firm JLM Pacific Epoch. "If [barcode-reading software] is in every handset around the country, the incentive to insert a tiny code [in advertisements] is huge."

Gmedia and Inspiry , which promotes its own standard, have announced partnerships with China Mobile. Inspiry has also persuaded handset manufacturers to pre-install its software in "hundreds of thousands" of units, according to Lawrence Tse, a general partner at venture capitalist firm Gobi Partners , which has invested in the company


Tim said...

How much would a company like Starbucks pay the content provider for a sucessful redemption?

Scott Shaffer said...

See how powerful this type of advertising will be?

Direct interaction on the third screen...the device you carry with you everywhere, all the time.

Can you also see how physical world hyperlinks can be bigger than search engine keywords now?