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3GVision, Connecthings partner to increase 2D bar code adoption

3GVision has partnered with Connecthings to extend the use and compatibility of 2D bar code reading technology to most mobile phone models in France.

Connecthings, which provides bar codes and contextualized location- and time-based content management systems, will help publishers, advertisers, government agencies and local businesses create 2D bar code campaigns and mobile applications. The campaigns will use Flashcode technology, the official national bar code standard of France, as well as QR and DataMatrix bar codes.

“The challenge in France is to make scanning of 1D and 2D bar codes possible for all mobile users, including tourists,” said Galit Beck, spokeswoman for 3GVision, Israel. “The partnership with Connecthings will make mobile bar code scanning possible, even for mobile users who do not have Flashcode supported mobile phones.

“The agreement is part of our ongoing strategy to increase adaptation and make mobile bar code scanning an easy and quick experience for all consumers,” she said.

3GVision specializes in mobile bar code services and image-processing technologies to fast-track consumers to the mobile Internet.

3GVision’s i-nigma 1D/2D bar code platform enables code creation, campaign management and metrics reporting.

3GVision’s clients include carriers France Telecom, Telstra and NTT Docomo, handset manufacturers Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola, as well as most Japanese handset vendors such as Sharp, NEC, Kyocera and Toshiba.

I-nigma wrapped in a riddle
The i-nigma barcode reading application can already be used in the City of Toulouse to fast-track mobile subscribers and tourists to location- and time-based content like directional maps and timetables, printed on bus shelters and street furniture.

Mobile subscribers scan Flashcode, QR and Data Matrix bar codes with their mobile phone camera to gain instant access to virtual guides of the city, maps, real-time location-based messages and multimedia content.

Any phone equipped with a camera with sufficient resolution will be able to read all bar code types, including print, provided that the user has the Flashcode reader pre-installed on their device or downloads 3GVision’s bar code reading application i-nigma.   

I-nigma includes tools to enable real-time tracking of on-going campaign success based on the number of codes scanned and response volume by location, time, user segmentation and media type.

The core consumer demographics that interact with 2D bar codes include early-adopters, teenagers and young adults, smartphone users and professional users.

The profile of 2D bar codes is rising. Still, some barriers remain to mass-market adoption of 2D bar codes.

In the West, unlike Japan, the client application is usually not preinstalled on the mobile device, meaning that software installation is required before a phone can be used to read a bar code, according to 3GVision.

“Although this process is simple, it is a barrier to broad adoption,” Ms. Beck said. “Despite this, many marketers have run campaigns and found that users do not have a problem downloading the QR application, especially when it is simple to install, like our i-nigma reader.

“Furthermore, there are phones that come preloaded with QR bar code applications,” she said. “Another factor influencing penetration is code format and standards.

“While QR is the most widely known bar code worldwide and is considered a huge success in Japan, there are lots of other code formats resulting in a fragmented market.”

While 2D bar codes have yet to hit the mainstream in the U.S. and Europe, the future looks bright.

“2D bar codes are defiantly on the rise as brand advertisers, marketers and businesses realize that it is an effective way to add interactivity to offline media, create endless opportunities to engage with customers and reach target audiences,” Ms. Beck said.

“However, it is still necessary to increase market awareness to accelerate adaptation and make them a normal part of daily mobile consumers’ behavior,” she said. “Once this is achieved, there is no doubt that the majority of people will know what a bar code is and how to use it.”