Monday, November 24, 2008

The Importance of Ubiquity

Ubiquity is an important consideration when considering a mobile barcode scanning solution. It is important to you, the consumer/user, because when you see a code on a piece of paper you want to be able to know that your phone can interpret it. It is important to the person or company putting the code out there because they want the confidence that their intended audience can interpret the code.

Ubiquity is a tricky beast because not all phones are alike. Some iconic phones, like the Apple iPhone for instance, can do some amazingly nifty things that most other phones can't. It needs applications--maybe even for barcodes--that can take advantage of its special capabilities. But when it comes to reach, it only accesses a small portion of the overall audience.

A solution that works "well enough" on as many phones as possible is vastly preferable. Take text messaging for instance. You need a data-capable phone, but this is a large and increasing number of handsets in the market. It is valuable mainly because you can assume your buddy can read the message you send, no matter what kind of phone and phone network it runs.
So as you choose to publish a code--whether you are an individual or a company--it's important to understand specifically how many handsets in your target audience codescanning works for. And you should also understand the definition of "works." Some companies will try to deceive you in this category.

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