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Standardizing Mobile Barcodes

As Wild As The West Once Was

I've been dabbling more and more in mobile recently and the marketing possibilities this powerful medium possess. Whether it's through a pitch for a campaign or through research in refining approach to branded content on smartphones – I'm certainly hooked on the opportunities that could-be with mobile as it is now and in the future. I'm obviously not the only one jazzed about all of this. Look around and your sure to see mobile media consumption in the US strengthening (it has been very quickly over the last few years.) Old news you say? Indeed. But the associated technologies that empower the medium of mobile is what is lacking corralling in my opinion, and it's as cowboy as the carrier and device control currently blurring mobile harmony (for content creators and consumers alike.)

One specific thing I have begun to scratch my head about is around contextual interactions with a user's device. When this topic comes up, many digital marketers begin to think about social technologies and in particular, mobile barcoding. There is no doubt that creative abundance exists with mobile devices and public usage of barcodes (especially within the retail and event sectors.) However, I've noticed that the technologies that currently exist are independent and require way too much thinking for consumers to adopt. Peter Evers feels my frustration with this as well. Many choices exist for barcode usage and some have even been successfully implemented by several brands already. Whether it's semacode, QR or Shotcodes it's got to get standardized if it's going to make it. Manufacturers are beginning to take responsibility for this so it puts less work in the hands of consumers and becomes native to the device itself. This is key and it's requiring that brands and mobile consumers not rely on proprietary readers. Some companies have even written applications to make contextual interactions easier for consumers. While this is great, it still puts the solution at the application level instead of at the native handset.

I guess the point I'm trying to make is this: Let's adopt one of these barcodes and move on. There is money to be made with the possibilities here and until we pick a providing standard, we'll continue to lose out on richer connections with consumers and the relevant engagement they could be having with brands – this very moment. I'm happy to see manufacturers like Samsung making strides here and SnapTell developing device specific apps. As well as CamClic utilizing existing product barcodes. However, the company that quickly dominates what I feel will be an incredible necessity for mobile marketing's future, will surely take the cake (not to mention revolutionize how mobile interaction is defined.)

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