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New Sprint 2D barcode reader paves way for mobile commerce

August 19, 2009

bar-codeSprint mobile phones can now read 2D barcodes, making it¬†simpler for the carrier’s customers to get product information via mobile.

2D barcodes are simple black-and-white images, but each one is packed with a unique interactive experience in the form of data, Web links, MP3s, video streams and personal profiles. Sprint customers can now use more than 30 Sprint handsets to instantly unlock information from 2D barcodes with the launch of ScanLife from mobile marketing company Scanbuy Inc.

“Sprint is the first and only U.S. carrier to offer direct access to ScanLife from Scanbuy,” said Emmy Anderson, spokeswoman for Sprint, Overland Park, KS. “Direct access means the ScanLife application is easily available to Sprint customers on a variety of phones through the Downloads section of the Sprint mobile Web.

“Scanning a code takes the Sprint customer directly to where they want to go in seconds so they can take advantage of the speed of the Now Network to get to relevant mobile content and information in an instant,” she said. “This removes the need to type in long Web addresses or search by keywords to find and access content.”¬†

For example, brands can run magazine ads with a 2D barcode in, say, the lower right corner.

Using the ScanLife application, Sprint customers can scan the barcode to be sent to a Web site on their Sprint phone that might contain pricing, availability and additional product information, as well as a promotion such as a mobile coupon.

For example, a 2D barcode appearing on a movie poster, when scanned using the ScanLife application, can deliver Sprint customers to a Web site with information on the film, movie locations and ticket prices.

This eliminates the need to type Web addresses or search for content by keywords.

The ScanLife application is available immediately for download to more than 30 Sprint camera phones, including various handsets from HTC, LG, Motorola, Palm, Samsung and Sanyo.

Sprint plans to make ScanLife available on additional camera phones in the coming weeks.

Sprint data subscribers can download the application for no additional charge by going to the mobile Web on their Sprint phone, selecting ‘Downloads’ and typing ScanLife in the Search box.

Consumers can also type in their phone’s mobile Web address bar.

Another way to get the application download information is by texting keyword SCAN to short code 70734.

Marketers, advertisers and individuals can create 2D barcodes.

2D barcodes can be placed by companies or individuals on any physical media, such as print advertisements, signs and digital displays.

Content creators, including advertisers and media providers, can register to use the ScanLife Code Management Platform at to create 2D barcode campaigns.

Additionally, any individual can use the platform for free to create personal 2D barcodes that link to their contact information or social networking sites.

Soon customers might find 2D barcodes on everything from bus shelters to magazine ads to business cards.

To help drive usage, the CTIA, the international association for the wireless telecommunications industry, has joined with wireless carriers to sponsor and support common code scanning technologies.

Sprint’s launch of ScanLife complies with the industry initiative.

Scanbuy, based in New York, has already deployed the service in Mexico, Spain, France, Denmark and the Philippines.

Its mobile application is available to millions of camera phones worldwide across all major operating systems.

Sprint Nextel has two wireless networks serving nearly 51 million customers at the end of the third quarter 2008, making it the fourth largest carrier in the U.S.

Scanbuy is a provider of mobile marketing services that use the camera phone as the link between the physical world and the digital world.

The ScanLife client application and Code Management Platform are helping media companies, marketers, handset manufacturers and carriers to provide information and services to consumers on their mobile phones.

Scanbuy’s investors include Longworth Venture Partners, Masthead Venture Partners and Hudson Ventures.

“2D barcodes provide an immediate link from the physical world to anything digital through the mobile device,” Ms. Anderson said. “A code can be placed on any printed or digital display from a print ad to packaging to a business card — virtually anything can trigger an interactive experience.

Consumers can go to and click on ‘Examples’ to see how EZcodes have been used in the U.S.

“Marketers, media providers, retailers and others are now using this technology around the world,” Ms. Anderson said. “Marketers like Sears, American Airlines, Citysearch and more have already published EZcodes.”

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Dan Butcher is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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