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Scanbuy powers full-scale bar code implementation in Spain

August 25, 2009

scanbuy2Scanbuy is venturing into new territory providing its ScanLife technology for Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone wireless carriers in Spain.

Those three wireless carriers provide mobile services for 98 percent of the Spanish population, meaning that 2D bar codes will become mainstream. Not only that, but the bar code system will be interoperable between the carriers, so that one 2D barcode works for all handsets across the three carriers.

“Our focus has been to work with wireless operators and manufacturers to build a solid infrastructure to make this easy for both marketers and consumers,” said David Javitch, vice president of marketing at Scanbuy, New York.

“Getting all three major operators to launch an interoperable service is a very big deal and it should be great for the growth of 2D bar codes,” he said.

The service has been nicknamed “Bidi,” short for bidimensionales, which means two-dimensional in Spanish.

With Scanbuy technology, the three carriers are creating a network of interoperable code management platforms and barcode reader applications that will be able to take codes from one carrier’s platform and be read by another carrier’s handset.

This full-scale implementation will make camera phones a necessity in Spain.

“Scanbuy has created a system so that a code generated by one carrier can be read by another carrier’s phone,” Mr. Javitch said. “So this means there will be a completely consistent experience whether you scan a code from the Yellow Pages, a Volkswagen ad, or the bus stop. 

“All of the data from those scans can be aggregated across handsets so a marketers can run a 2D code campaign and see everything from one source,” he said.

Scanbuy’s ScanLife technology transforms the physical world into a link to the digital world using a simple 2D barcode of black lines tagged to various products. 

When looking at a product of interest, users can scan the attached barcode using their camera phone and be automatically linked to digital content such as product discounts, videos, contact information or even a mobile Web site.

The technology works by taking scans and passing them through a code clearinghouse that is specific to its originating code management platform. The platform then sends the content to the correct carrier platform in order to deliver the appropriate content.

Telefonica has been promoting the Bidi service since 2008 by preloading the mobile application on around 3 million devices in Spain.

Volkswagen, Caja Madrid and Yellow Pages have all run 2D barcode campaigns in Spain already, but this implementation should add a long list of major brands to this bright beginning.

“This technology makes it easier than ever to access mobile information or commerce from any media, but we have to partner with the mobile operators to get it deployed across their networks,” Mr. Javitch said.

“Millions of phones will be enabled through downloads and preloads so marketers can publish a code on a print ad and get thousands of hits,” he said.

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Jordan Crook is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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