Light Reading

Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes

Sarah Thomas
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        ADD A COMMENT
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.


 

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 Sabre
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.

shygye75
50%
50%
shygye75,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:26:13 PM
re: Scanbuy's New CEO Talks Mobile Bar Codes


Mr. Larry: Thanks for the sage advice. I can feel my brain cells dancing the dance of liberation already.

From The Founder
Light Reading sits down at CES with the head of Cisco's service provider video business, Conrad Clemson, to discuss how NFV and cloud security relate to video, the challenge of managing 4K/8K traffic, the global expansion of Netflix and virtual reality.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Documentaries
EANTC Tests Nokia IP Routing & Mobile Gateway VNFs for Real World Deployment

2|9|16   |   5:08   |   (0) comments


Nokia obtained validation of its virtualized router and virtualized mobile gateway capabilities through rigorous testing performed by EANTC. The results set a new industry benchmark for outstanding performance, scalability, resiliency and manageability. Nokia VNFs are ready for telco cloud deployment, so that service providers can accelerate mobile, business and ...
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Level 3's Jack Waters

2|8|16   |   26:15   |   (1) comment


Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
LRTV Custom TV
The Composable Telco

2|8|16   |   24:46   |   (0) comments


Heavy Reading's Principal Analyst Caroline Chappell presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Dublin.
LRTV Custom TV
Join Us at the Digital Operations Transformation Summit

2|4|16   |   03:52   |   (0) comments


The Digital Operations Transformation Summit on February 21, 2016 at the Crowne Plaza Barcelona Fira Centre will bring together 50 senior executives to engage in a unique debate on the opportunities and challenges presented by the transformative evolving digital landscape. RSVP now at events@lightreading.com.
LRTV Custom TV
Making the Test: ADVA Ensemble Connector vs. Open vSwitch

2|4|16   |   01:28   |   (0) comments


Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, recently tested ADVA's Ensemble Connector, which replaces open vSwitch and offers carrier-grade capability and interoperability. The test results strengthen ADVA's credibility as a provider in the virtualization space.
LRTV Custom TV
Bridging the Gap Between PoCs & Deployment in NFV

2|4|16   |   31:50   |   (0) comments


Charlie Ashton of Wind River presents the keynote at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Dublin.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Mike Aquino

2|3|16   |   17:34   |   (0) comments


The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Shades of Ray
MWC: Buckle Up for 5G & the IIoT

2|2|16   |   02:28   |   (0) comments


This year's Mobile World Congress looks set to be a 5G land grab and a chance to get down and dirty with the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) – but what will the 5G discussions actually be about?
LRTV Custom TV
Case Study: Building China's Next-Gen TV Networks

2|2|16   |   5:01   |   (0) comments


With over 2 billion viewers worldwide, Shenzhen Media Group is one of China's largest content producers. By partnering with Huawei and Sobey, SZMG was able to modernize media operations with the Converged News Center, a production studio that is a model for next-generation workflows.
LRTV Custom TV
Quad Channel Modulator Driver with 46 Gbaud Capability from MACOM

1|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


MACOM's MAOM-003427 is the industry's first surface-mount modulator driver with 46 Gbaud capability to support next generation 200G and 400G applications.
LRTV Custom TV
Video Infographic: Validating Cisco's NFV Infrastructure

1|26|16   |   02:24   |   (1) comment


We all know that the network of the future will be virtual, but when will virtual become a reality? This video infographic covers the four key areas in which Light Reading, in partnership with EANTC, tested Cisco's NFV infrastructure: performance, reliability, multi-service capabilities and single pane of glass management.

For the full report, see

Between the CEOs
CEO Chat With Phil McKinney, CableLabs

1|22|16   |   13:36   |   (1) comment


At CES in Las Vegas, we met with Phil McKinney, CEO of CableLabs. Phil provides an update on the rollout of DOCSIS 3.1, his views on the future of open source and how consumer interest in virtual reality could affect network traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
March 10, 2016, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 5, 2016, The Ritz Carlton, Charlotte, NC
May 23, 2016, Austin, TX
May 24-25, 2016, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Google's 5G Radio Ambitions Are Expanding
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/5/2016
Cincinnati Bell Joins Weight Watchers Club
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/5/2016
Yahoo & Verizon Sitting in a Tree...
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 2/8/2016
Vodafone: Flexible Work Policies Boost Profits
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/8/2016
It's Time to Integrate OTT Video
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/8/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO and founder Steve Saunders sits down with Level 3 Communications' CTO Jack Waters to discuss hot topics like virtualization, 4K and the future of telecom...
The former CEO of Overture Networks, Mike Aquino, discusses why truly open virtualization solutions provide service providers with the greatest choice.
Animals with Phones
Retro Is the Way to Be Click Here
Some animals are too cute for smartphones.
Live Digital Audio

Broadband speeds are ramping up across Europe as the continent, at its own pace, follows North America towards a gigabit society. But there are many steps to take on the road to gigabit broadband availability and a number of technology options that can meet the various requirements of Europe’s high-speed fixed broadband network operators. During this radio show we will look at some of the catalysts for broadband network investments and examine the menu of technology options on offer, including vectoring and G.fast for copper plant evolution and the various deployment possibilities for FTTH/B.