Light Reading
Former MMA president and newly appointed Scanbuy CEO discusses the 2D-bar-code-enabled face of mobile marketing

Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes

Sarah Reedy
LR Mobile News Analysis
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor
8/11/2010
50%
50%

Mobile bar codes are piquing the interest of the wireless industry, including the mobile operators and former president of The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Mike Wehrs. He joined 2D mobile bar code vendor Scanbuy this week as interim CEO to push an idea as simple as the name -- scan it, buy it -- to mainstream mobile phone users.

Wehrs sees mobile phones as the perfect vehicle to execute bar-code-enabled purchases, marketing, and interactivity, and believes that, technologically, phones are there and, culturally, consumers are coming around as well.

"Codes are the easiest vehicle there is to get people to interact with the media out there," Wehrs says. "It's just as fast on a Website to click on the code and take it with you on your mobile device. Those things are fundamentally enabling."

Scanbuy has been providing big brands across the globe with mobile bar code campaigns for a while now, but the technology -- already big in Asia -- is just beginning to take off in the US. The company uses the mobile phone's camera to link the physical world to the digital world and connect users to more information, videos, promotions, coupons, or other ways to interact with brands.

The company -- funded by Motorola Ventures , among others -- requires a multi-bar-code reader application and interoperable Code Management Platform, but can work across smartphones through a downloadable app or on feature phones through partnerships to embed the technology. (See Sony Ericsson Adds Scanbuy Codes.)

Bar codes are not as advanced as short-range mobile payment tech, near-field communications, but there's an element of mCommerce here as well. With a 2D bar code, brands can register users, comparative shop, make purchases, or complete ticketing exchanges at places like airports or public transport.

Scanbuy was also one of the vendors behind Esquire magazine's bar-code issue, which let readers purchase retail items they saw in the magazine or find out more information on ads in the issue.

"We can take what is traditional media and make it interactive with something that doesn’t require someone to type in or remember a URL," Wehrs says. "You transition to a digital campaign. It bridges the world of digital and print very nicely."

The brands, in return, get a direct connection with individual consumers that can be tracked and monetized, the piece of the equation that Wehrs will be homing in on.

Wehrs replaces Jonathan Bulkeley, who has been CEO since 2006, but resigned to pursue other interests. Wehrs comes to Scanbuy after a long history in the telecom industry, including stints at Nuance Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: NUAN), Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC), and Sony Corp. (NYSE: SNE). Most recently he served as president and CEO of the MMA, where he helped establish best practices for the burgeoning mobile marketing industry.

It's not just the industry associations and vendors that see the potential though. Both mCommerce and mobile marketing are trends that have captured the attention of the traditionally slow-moving wireless operators. In the past month, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Verizon Wireless , and T-Mobile US Inc. have joined forces to evangelize mobile payments, and AT&T has introduced its own mobile bar code service on BlackBerry and Android devices. (See Mo'bile Money, Mo' Problems, AT&T Offers Mobile Barcode Apps, and Mobile Marketers: Just Do Something.)

Shop-specific apps like ShopSavvy, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) Shopper, and dedicated vendors like NeoMedia Technologies, which inked a deal with media company Buongiorno this week, are also looking for a piece of the action.

For now, there's plenty to go around. Wehrs knows from his stint at the MMA that the rate of spending on mobile marketing has more than doubled in 2010 and continues to increase at 2.5 times the overall spend in the industry. It's still not a large number compared to other types of ad and marketing programs, he says, but its growth is starting to become significant.

"There's not a major brand out there that's not doing something in incorporating mobile ads and marketing," Wehr says. "It's past the inflection point."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

(11)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:27:08 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


NeoMedia puts out their own best practices and listed among the challenges are reach and consumer awareness. With a lot of these mobile services, there aren't tech roadblocks, just the need to change consumer behavior. Of course, embedding the tech into handsets is sometimes a challenge, but app stores are lessening the importance of that.

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:27:07 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


I'd rather not.


I think what would simplify things is an approach that looks beyond replicating a paper-based system on a digital device. This approach seems like one that wants to add steps to a consumer's travel/shopping/whatever with no apparent payback.


I've stood behind the guy who had a boarding pass on his smartphone. The finger print shield and $100 leather case obscured the code just enough so that the gate agent had to enter his bar code by hand into the machine. Good times.


re: "Everyone has their mobile phone with them. Why not use it for ticketing, and so be it if you get some marketing in there too? Ultimately, it wil simplify things."

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:27:07 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


I'm starting to be wary of stuff that's:


1) Huge in Asia, allegedly, but no one else in the world has ever used it, seen it, or verified that it works.


2) Relies on retail stores to change how they interact with customers. If you think carriers are backwards and dull, try talking to the nation's department stores.


3) Espoused by a new CEO who hasn't had time to get his head around the business. Give it three months and he'll "find a new market" for some of their technologies.


4) Gives consumers one more thing to think of when they're shopping. Coupons, membership clubs, and now bar codes? For what? Am I really going to stop and watch a video about canned corn? It seems the things you REALLY need info about when you shop are too big for bar codes -- autos, homes, appliances, etc.


Unless I'm missing something this whole thing seems like a solution in search of a problem.


 

SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:27:07 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


I think mobile barcodes are a pretty big opportunity - not so much for marketing, but for ticketing and payments. American Airlines let you use them to check in for your flight, which is great for those of us who forget to print out our boarding passes or don't have a printer. The experience is still clunky today, but it doesn't require new POS readers.


Also, Wehrs has a long history in mobile that spans the network, hardware and software side of the business. Most important, however, is his time as MMA prez. That gave him a purview of the entire mobile marketing industry, so I think that it's notable he choose an opportunity more exciting that SMS campaigns or banner ads.


I agree that it does require a change in consumer behavior, but while it may be one more thing to think about, it's one less thing to carry around or remember. Everyone has their mobile phone with them. Why not use it for ticketing, and so be it if you get some marketing in there too? Ultimately, it wil simplify things. Same reason I think mobile payments will take off too.


Oh, and around 2 billion mobile tickets have already been issued in 2010, says Juniper Research. Most are in Asia.

SReedy
50%
50%
SReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 4:27:07 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


Fair enough. NFC will make it much more interesting, but that requires new POS readers AND new chipsets embedded in phones. Barcodes are an interim step, but at least they're better than the companies that want you to put stickers on your $100 leather iPhone cases to acheive the same result.


Also, I love coupons. If the barcode would yield a coupon at check out, that'd be enough payback for me.

MobileCodes
50%
50%
MobileCodes,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:26:16 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


Phil:  I think you are missing the point.  Mobile barcodes allow users to retrieve information about an object using their cell phone.  They connect the physical world to the online world.


For instance, you are in WalMart and want more information about a TV from reviewers.  You simply click the barcode and it retrieves the comparisons and critiques. 


Or, you are not sure if the price is competitive, so you call up your ShopSavvy app and scan the barcode.  It will give you both online pricing and local competitors.


This is being done with large objects like cars and homes. 


You can now click on barcode on a building and read about its history. 


You can click on a barcode on a grave and read their story. 


You can click a barcode on a realtor sign and read about the property. 


If you want to read the menu for a restaurant before going in, click on the Google barcode on the window. 


Want more information on the GM car in an advertisement?  Click on the 2D code on the page. 


The idea is to give consumers information while they are interacting with a physical object.  No more searching on Google!  No more waiting to go home to do price comparisons.


Watch for more to come in the secondary market with Ebay's recent purchase of RedLaser (formerly, the number 2 fee app on iPhone). 


Macy's and Best Buy's infancy venture into custom barcode apps will change what we know about how consumers shop. 

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:26:15 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


The point I'm missing is that consumers are somehow walking around wanting more info about advertisements. Advertising already connects the digital world -- My TV programs -- with the physical world -- stuff at stores.


Isn't the advertisement itself enough?


Maybe I'm just wired differently, but I don't really see the point in most cases.


Now, a barcode on the grave -- that I love. I want one. And I want a pop-up grave stone DVD player as a backup. And a flip book with animation in case the DVD player jams. And a URL on the grave stone in case someone makes off with the flip book.

shygye75
50%
50%
shygye75,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:26:14 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


I know my life will be enriched when, instead of a plaque that describes a historic landmark, there will be a barcode, and when I can stand in front of an eatery looking at its menu on my iPhone 8 (complete with 3D photos) instead of having to read a piece of paper that's posted in the window, or even worse, walking in and asking to look at the printed bill of fare.

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:26:14 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


If you had telepresence, you wouldn't have to go there at all.

Larry, Monkey
50%
50%
Larry, Monkey,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:26:13 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


"walking in and asking to look at the printed bill of fare"?


Walking? Talking with another non-virtual person?


Can you sense my shudder?


My primitive Monkey friend: Just allow Google to tell you what you want to eat.

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Rick Talbot, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:12   |   (0) comments


At the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Rick Talbot shared his positive feedback about the holistic and open approach that Huawei adopts for SDN and NFV. He also found the open sharing at the event valuable as it features different perspectives from Huawei experts, telecom operators, industry analysts as well as security experts.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With David Snow, Principal Analyst, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   2:24   |   (0) comments


David Snow talked about his understanding of Huawei and its SoftCOM strategy at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that Huawei's wide approach combining IT and CT expertise, introducing big data and analytics into solutions and contributing to the OpenStack community particularly resonate with him and make the company stand out in the industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Roz Roseboro, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading

10|31|14   |   3:13   |   (0) comments


Roz Roseboro commented on Huawei's data center capabilities and NFV solutions at the NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, saying that in addition to covering all three key domains of compute, storage and networking, the company also emphasizes the importance of management capabilities and professional services, which are essential in making NFV a reality.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Michael Howard, Co-founder & Principal Analyst, Infonetics Research

10|31|14   |   5:25   |   (0) comments


Michael Howard talked about SDN, NFV, and OpenStack adoption at Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014. Particularly, he pointed out that Virtual Enterprise CPE is the top NFV use case that operators plan to invest in over 2014 and 2015 to deliver new enterprise services through virtualized functions.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Jerry Caron, Senior Vice President, Current Analysis

10|31|14   |   3:11   |   (0) comments


At Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014, Jerry Caron from Current Analysis said that orchestration and management are key to realizing SDN and NFV for global carriers, and the approach that Huawei is taking, with its FusionSphere Cloud OS at the core, is in the right direction to address the challenges.
LRTV Documentaries
Broadband Battles

10|31|14   |   01:39   |   (0) comments


This year's Broadband World Forum featured a number of show floor battles focused on access gear, components and coffee.
Jonestown
Mobile Backhaul: Going to the Dark Side?

10|30|14   |   2:26   |   (1) comment


Heavy Reading's Patrick Donegan shares his view on a dark trend that bubbled up at Light Reading's annual backhaul conference in NYC.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With CEO of SwitchCom

10|30|14   |   4:13   |   (0) comments


SwitchCom, an IT company based in Angola, recommends a variety of Huawei solutions and hardware to their customers in the energy industry.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy

10|30|14   |   4:08   |   (0) comments


Gosaye Mengistie of Ethiopia's Ministry of Water Irrigation & Energy discusses the collaboration with Huawei in that country.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Dongfang Electronics Corporation

10|30|14   |   5:46   |   (0) comments


Dongfang Electronics Corporation, headquartered in Chengdu, China, is one of China's largest manufacturers of power generators and contractors of power station projects.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview with Zimbabwe's Customers

10|30|14   |   3:31   |   (0) comments


Representatives of Zimbabwe's Ministry of Power and Development discuss the energy needs of their country as well as new areas of improvement due to enhanced ICT capabilities.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
2014 Huawei Electric Power Industry Summit: Interview With Colbún Chile

10|30|14   |   4:29   |   (0) comments


In Chile, an aging energy infrastructure was in dire need of a modern update. Claudio Valenzuela of Colbún discusses how Huawei's ICT solutions continue to provide crucial information to improve the grid and how an in-country engineer is a cricial asset.
Upcoming Live Events
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 30, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Microsoft's Skype Embraces WebRTC on IE
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/27/2014
FTC Slaps AT&T With Throttling Lawsuit
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 10/28/2014
Wheeler Gets Down With OTT
Mari Silbey, Independent Technology Editor, 10/29/2014
China's MVNOs Hit the Wall
Robert Clark, 10/27/2014
Let's Not Kill SDN & NFV With Silos
Francois Locoh-Donou, Senior VP, Global Products Group, Ciena, 10/28/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed