DM: So Laura, I think many of our readers will be familiar with NeoMedia and what you do, but give us an update on what the company has been up to recently if you would please.
LM: Sure. We have made some significant changes to the business in the last six months. We’ve made a number of improvements to our barcode reader, with better decoding algorithms, enabled support for SMS, wi-fi, V-cards etc., and consequently, we have seen a significant increase in the number of downloads. I believe we have one of the best readers on the market in terms of its speed and its ability to decode codes. We continue to make it available free of charge to consumers, but we are also beginning to ramp up our SDK for enterprises.
Then on the agency and brand side we have our NeoSphere platform. This is our barcode management product that gives brands, agencies and resellers the ability to create and deploy barcode campaigns, and we have seen enormous growth, particularly among large organisations. In fact, we have seen the volume of transactions over the platform increase by 1,000 per cent. For small and medium-sized businesses, it’s still relatively early days, but we are seeing growth here too.
DM: And where does the advent of NFC leave QR codes? Do you see NFC as a threat?
LM: I think NFC is better suited to commerce than mob marketing application, so I believe the two will coexist. And I think it will be many years before we see the mass adoption of NFC. But for the moment, our campaign management platform supports NFC tags, for those that want to use them.
DM: And a word about your IP (Intellectual Property); you have some ongoing patent infringement litigation?
LM: We do. I don’t want to go into that here, but we do take it very seriously. We have 74 patents awarded and pending across NeoMedia Inc. and Gmbh, and we continue to have new patents awarded. We are working aggressively with Global IP law group to actively licence and enforce our IP, and I believe we will have some significant announcements in the next two quarters.
DM: And what trends are you seeing in your space?
LM: I think a lot of good work has been done to educate consumers around the use of mobile barcodes. We’ve come a long way, handset pre-installs have certainly helped, and we are seeing a lot of brands launching campaigns and making a much better job of it than a couple of years ago. We are seeing more information around and within campaigns to help and encourage consumers to scan code. This year, we will see QR codes everywhere, with mobile coming to prominence as the most important media channel brands can consider when launching initiatives.
DM: And in terms of different territories, where are the hotspots for mobile barcode activity?
LM: The US has really led the way in the overall adoption of 2D codes, but we are now seeing them absolutely everywhere – S. Africa, Dubai, the UK, Latin America. In fact, there is no part of the world where we are not seeing interest in barcodes, but the implementations are fairly different. In the developing world, for example, there’s much more use of barcodes for inventory and supply chain management. But the trend is upward, wherever in the world you look.
Laura Marriott is CEO of NeoMedia