Mobile Barcodes Are Going Nowhere Unless The Big Players Start Using Them

The wait has been on for years in terms of mass mobile barcode adoption.  Even though the massive potential in the concept exists, it’s still very much hindered by lack of consumer knowledge. This is what I’ve always said, and now it looks like barcode...

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Mobile Barcodes Are Going Nowhere Unless The Big Players Start Using ThemThe wait has been on for years in terms of mass mobile barcode adoption.  Even though the massive potential in the concept exists, it’s still very much hindered by lack of consumer knowledge.

This is what I’ve always said, and now it looks like barcode companies themselves are singing the same tune.  “The biggest thing currently holding back the 2D barcode industry is a lack of education, says Iain McCready, CEO with NeoMedia.  Educating consumers will only take place when big players such as Facebook and Google start aggressively pushing barcodes.  Once consumers are confronted with the technology head-on by services they use everyday, adoption will follow.

GoMo News posted a great article covering many of McCready’s thoughts on 2D barcodes, and I think he’s spot on with most of his observations.  He says the industry will soon thrive because the barcodes themselves are now “open” standards, and that proprietary codes will disappear as a result.  Microsoft is a perfect example- their proprietary barcode format has gone nowhere.

Another important aspect is the concept of indirect barcodes instead of direct.  A direct barcode, for example, would point to a specific URL set when the barcode is created, whereas an ‘indirect’ code is resolved Online in real-time, meaning the URLs or any other associated action can be changed.  This opens up much more potential and possible use-cases.

The big players, such as Google and Facebook, are already toying with the idea of using barcodes- both have introduced QR codes for minor interaction, for example, but it will be until mass roll out occurs to get consumers educated and ready for mobile barcodes.  We’re not there yet, but the time is rapidly approaching.

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5 comments

  1. Alex Avery - Inbound Marketing Consultant

    2D barcodes have been in Japan for 20 years. Arguably, that same country is approximately 10-15 years ahead of the rest of the world in mobile technology. The English speaking technology world is driven by the US, which – with it’s history of Ma Bell et al – has been historically slow on the mobile uptake. I refer here to their retarded growth in the use of SMS/text messages as a case in point.

    That all being said, the US has caught up on text messaging. They’re waking up to the use of mobile web but are still a long way behind Japan in all things “mobile”. QR codes and the integration of offline/mobile/online is the next – and natural – progression. The greatest resistance will come from print media, who don’t want ‘ugly black and white squares’ all over their lovely glossy mags. They’ll break, as their revenues continue to slide. Just wait n see.

  2. What’s up this week?: Tips for Mobile Marketing to Kids, NYMag shows love to NYC Tech Scene, Foursquare makes History (Channel) and more! - Ben Tannenbaum

    […] Mobile Barcodes Are Going Nowhere Unless The Big Players Start Using Them – I agree. That’s only half of the story though. Yes, big brands need to begin using them in highly visible, actively promoted campaigns. Beyond that though, we need to see massive amounts of consumer education. […]

  3. Nick Ford

    Facebook just needs to update their mobile app with a QR code reader and be done with it. Millions of people will be introduced overnight.

    Reasons why they haven’t/are going to.

    -Devices (Blackberrys are horrible)(HTC and Android will be king)
    -Speed (4G OMG!!)
    -mobile content (not enough out there)
    – X factor (Facebook)

  4. rw

    a ton! more every day my best was the first day I had my IPhone I was in a box store and want to buy a cover for it $25 for one. I remembered I had loaded redlaser app scanned and found the same one for $12 I left and got two one for me one for my wife!
    I have used it a ton now to check prices

    and i use the Starbucks code to pay for my drinks

    have movie tickets sent to my phone now and target sends me coupons

    cipper app checks where i am and gives me food coupons to eat around where I am

    this stuff is endless!!!

  5. Strompreisvergleich

    My cell phone has also such a barcode reader, but I never understood what I can do with it. What are the advantages of this barcode scanners? What can I do with them?

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