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Scanbuy debuts bar code service linking products to content

March 31, 2010

scanlifeScanbuy Inc. is introducing a bar code registration service that links everyday products to valuable content via a camera phone.

The new service lets any product manufacturer link its existing UPC or EAN bar codes to specific digital information related to the item. Brand owners can provide access to relevant digital content including recipe ideas, product demo videos, coupon offers and social network feed in one click.

“Most new smartphones now come with auto-focus cameras, which gives them the ability to read common 1D bar codes like UPC, EAN and ISBN,” said Jonathan Bulkeley CEO at Scanbuy, New York.  “We have hundreds of thousands of users that are scanning these codes, so this new feature will allow brand owners to provide relevant information back to the consumer. 

“Price comparisons could be a part of that information, but that really only makes sense for electronics, books, and DVD’s – about 20 percent of the market,” he said. “The other 80 percent are food and drug products which should display information like recipes, allergens, video demos, coupon offers and more. 

“ScanLife Packaging Connect along with Augme Mobile makes all of this come together.”

Scanbuy claims to be the leading global provider of mobile bar code products and software as its ScanLife service, using the camera phone as a connector between the physical and digital worlds.

The company is continuing its relationship with Augme, a mobile marketing technology company that helps companies create fully branded, mobile formatted content.

Bar code service
The service lets brand owners register its existing bar codes to link to any content they choose.

Graphic Packaging International and Shorewood Packaging are already offering the service to its clients, which include Pepsi, General Mills and Miller.

Over the next year, thousands of products will be activated on the ScanLife Packaging Connect system to give mobile device users immediate access to valuable information from recipes to coupon offers.

“A recent study by Compete found that over 50 percent of smartphone users are doing that in the store alone,” Mr. Bulkeley said. “Over time, anyone with a camera phone will be using their device to scan a bar code to get relevant and useful content right from the package.

“In the U.S., Sprint is preloading our app on new phones and Verizon is promoting it to their subscribers,” he said. “It won’t take long for this to become a mainstream tool because it makes mobile navigation easier than ever.”

Mobile technology
Scanbuy’s ScanLife application was recently upgraded for the major smartphone platforms including Android, BlackBerry and iPhone to read one dimensional bar codes like UPC, EAN and ISBN.

Consumers can scan product codes on consumer electronics, books and DVD’s to see price comparisons and consumer reviews.

Several brands have already registered the UPC codes, including Droid by Motorola and Function Drinks.

Additionally, a number of new handsets come with an autofocus camera, which is needed to read UPC bar codes including the Droid by Motorola, BlackBerry Tour and iPhone 3GS.

“Consumers are surrounded by hundreds of products both in the store and at home,” Mr. Bulkeley said. “Now, all of these items can become interactive in one-click; whether they are making a purchase decision, or looking to learn more after the purchase. 

“Brand owners can now deliver relevant and useful content to that consumer by using something that is already on every single product – the bar code,” he said. “Major marketers and media publishers will be launching new mobile bar code campaigns virtually every week now.”

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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