Last year, mobile barcoder Scanbuy announced it was developing a service with three mobile operators in Spain – Movistar, 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… 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.