Monday, November 24, 2008

Where will the Big Bang Come From?

A lot of people think there needs to be a big bang to mobile barcode scanning going in the United States. When pressed, they say it will require large investments by a lot of companies.
This may be true, but where will such investment come from, and what will be the nature of the investement? I think there are a good number of companies making investments in mobile barcode scanning infrastructure. This includes development of codescanning readers, code creation interfaces, standards development, and so on. Although there is a lot of squabbling among them, this area seems to be coming along.

The concern seems to come from the lack of investment from phone companies. In Japan the phone companies invested in making handset readers on lots of phones, and then invested in consumer education. In the US I believe that phone companies will make the readers available widely, but they may not actively market the capability.

Concern also seems to come from lack of investment from brands. More brands (like Ralph Lauren, see could take an active role in education, and then use mobile barcodes in their campaigns. Unfortunately most brands are less intrepid, and will probably choose to wait until codescanning is well established. But when will that be?
The old reliable "last resort" is viral marketing. What can be done to convince consumers--especially kids, let's admit it--to think of codes as cool? I'm going to try and explore some ideas over the coming few posts and solicit some feedback. I welcome your ideas...

By the way, did you figure out that the code in the previous post was a link to ESPN's mobile website? Links to mobile content could be a good way to use mobile barcodes.

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