MC2 Reports Progress on Barcode Standards

The Mobile Codes Consortium (MC2), a cross-industry group created to promote unified standards in cameraphone barcode-reading technology, has revealed that it has persuaded fellow members of the GSM Association (GSMA) and the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), two of the global mobile phone industrys representative bodies, that the time is ripe to work in partnership to set worldwide mobile barcode standards. MC2 members include global marketing agency Publicis, Hewlett-Packard, Deutsche Telekom, Gavitec, KPN, Neomedia, Nokia, Qualcomm and Telefonica O2 Europe.
This month, the GSMA, the global trade association representing 700 GSM mobile phone operators, and OMA, the leading industry forum for developing market driven, interoperable mobile service enablers, will embark on a landmark exercise, which aims to deliver technology and marketing industry standards for mobile codes.
The GSMA is launching a work stream to encourage mobile operators to adopt interoperable business models for mobile codes and raise the profile of this technology within the industry, while the OMA will work simultaneously to specify the technical standards.
Tim Kindberg, of HP Laboratories, who is Co-chairman of the MC2, says:
Barcode-reading technology makes it much easier for people with mobile phones to click straight from paper or displays to content and services. You just point the camera and click to connect. This will make the mobile Internet much more accessible.
Thomas Curwen, of Publicis Dialog and Co-chairman of MC2, has hailed the move as: an important step toward making traditional display advertising interactive using mobile codes. He told Mobile Marketing:
So far, we have seen a fragmented approach in which people have to download an application that ends up reading a limited number of codes. We hope that the OMA and GSMA will encourage the industry to adopt a single standard that allows (nearly) all code readers to read (nearly) all codes. In turn it will increase the likelihood that readers come pre-installed.
The news follows a nine-month period of lobbying, plan development and recruitment of partners by the MC2 to make standards a reality. Now that the leading industry bodies are driving the standards for mobile barcodes, the MC2 says it will start alerting the marketing industry that it can start making plans for how to deploy them.
We are creating the mobile equivalent of the Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) for mobile content, says William Chip Hoffman, of NeoMedia. A standard technology used industry wide, which, like a bank-card, allows the consumer-facing mark of instant access to mobile content, the barcode, to be used regardless of a subscribers manufacturer or service provider of choice.

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