Three operators launch mobile barcodes at once with Scanbuy

Last year, mobile barcoder Scanbuy announced it was developing a service with three mobile operators in SpainMovistar, Vodafone and Orange. Today, that service has finally seen release. Called BIDI, it will allow subscribers from any of the three operators to access the same codes. And, as all three operators are now pre-loading the ScanLife barcode scanner onto mobile phones, the company is claiming this is the largest 2d barcode deployment in the entire Western world.

What’s the story?

BIDI has been in development since July of last year at least. It was started by Telefonica, who created the brand-name BIDI (short for bidimensional) for a trial period. When Scanbuy and the other two operators came on board, the BIDI name was retained. It’s basically a way for all three operators to generate their own barcodes, but allow subscribers of the other operators to scan them. Under the umbrella of the BIDI solution, they can launch a nationwide barcode campaign together, but still retain their own brand identity. The service has also gathered over twenty sales partners, which will sell the barcodes to different industry sectors.

When the service was announced last year, there were already 3 million mobile devices in Spain with ScanLife pre-loaded on them. That number is expected to have hit 10 million by the end of 2010.

What we think?

One of the truisms of the mobile industry is “if you want something to be really successful, you need the operators on board”. One of the big delaying factors in mobile barcodes is that few mobile operators have wanted to get heavily involved – but the kind of mass advertising, promotion and education they can supply for 2d barcodes is a really important factor in popularizing their use. With three of the biggest operators in Spain launching a joint service nationwide, I can’t wait to see what the usage stats are for BIDI over the next few months. This could be the true proving ground for barcodes in Europe‚Ķ if it’s popular. If BIDI isn’t a big success, it’ll become the emplacement that other operators point to when they want to justify not investing in mobile barcodes.

About Cian O' Sullivan

Ace reporter, Cian, has moved on from GoMo News. He is currently the office manager for Photocall Ireland - Ireland's premier news and PR photography agency. You can check out the site at www.photocallireland.com. If you want to contact him directly about anything, Cian's new email is cian at photocallireland dot com.
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4 Responses to Three operators launch mobile barcodes at once with Scanbuy

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  2. Rogerro says:

    I agree that BIDI will provide a real proving ground for barcodes, and is further proof of the rise ‘n rise of Scanbuy. Success will demonstrate that barcodes are a facility that consumers want, and should accelerate employment of them by other mobile operators…something that will benefit all barcode providers.
    Given Neomedia’s much stated aim to be a significant player in the global mobile barcode ecosystem, they will be pleased by this development. When the USPTO confirmed their 048 patent in February 2009, most thought that Neomedia would begin to realise its potential. During 2009 their were signs of standards alignment, mobile reader interoperability, and serious mobile ecosystem committment began gathering momentum. Neomedia’s long running litigation with Scanbuy was settled, and they arranged for Neustar to be their US licensing agent. Things were looking up.
    However in 2010, licensing of Neomedia’s IP appears to have stalled, both Neustar and Neomedia seem to be intimidated by the likes of Google et al, who use the IP without a license, and Neomedia are losing ground to Scanbuy and other barcode providers.
    I would like Cian or Bena (hope you’re well) to interview Iain McCreadie, and ask the obvious questions about how Neomedia is faring in the development of the global mobile barcode ecosystem, and whether they are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

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  4. Pingback: Raising the Bar: How Mobile Network Operators Can Capitalize on the Barcode Opportunity « Mobile Next Big Thing

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