Thursday, June 21, 2007
2D Barcodes To Take Giant Leap Forward
Another respected technology publication realizing Physical World Connection is coming and highlighting one of the players.
From Guardian Unlimited Mobile Phone Hyperlinks For The Real World
The world of the so-called 2D barcode is nearly upon us. After several false dawns, hyperlinks for the physical world are becoming a reality, thanks to mobiles with higher resolution cameras and the emergence of 3G high-speed connectivity.
ScanBuy, a New York-based provider of 2D barcode capture technology, has signed a deal with Nokia to embed its software into the mobile manufacturer's S60 and S40 models - primarily in China, a country with 500m mobile phone users. And global packaging company DuPont is offering to print the codes on to its customers' products using ScanBuy's technology.
These more sophisticated versions of the traditional barcodes (universal product codes, or UPCs) used in retailing can be scanned by cameraphones and converted into text, images or video. They can simply contain information - up to 1MB in some cases - or act as web links, making the hitherto tricky process of surfing the net via mobile as easy as "point and click".
Barcelona-based Codilink is selling 20,000 2D barcode cinema tickets and discount vouchers a week, having licensed ScanBuy's technology. Codilink managing director Ben Chesser says: "Within one-and-a-half to two years, early adopters will be doing this regularly. It takes time to build awareness, but this technology is finally ready for take-off."
One drawback preventing widespread adoption has been the lack of standards in a fragmented and highly competitive mobile phone market. Few consumers have been bothered enough to download decoder software on to their phones.
The advantage of ScanBuy's proprietary software is that it can read any of the main barcode protocols, such as QR, mainly used in Japan; Data Matrix, mainly used in Europe; and EZcode, ScanBuy's code designed specifically for VGA cameraphones. And once more mobiles are shipped with decoder software built in, the mobile web will take a giant leap forward.