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Sony Ericsson to preload bar code reader on mobile devices in 2010

December 2, 2009

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Sony Ericsson has tapped NeoMedia Technologies Inc., a mobile bar code scanning service provider, to have the bar code reading technology preloaded on its mobile devices.

Sony Ericsson will begin shipping mobile handsets with NeoMedia’s NeoReader bar-code-scanning application in the first half of 2010. The NeoReader transforms camera phones into mobile-bar-code scanners to provide access to mobile content via 2D bar codes.

“Sony Ericsson sees 2D-bar-coding as a means to cultivate innovation and drive incremental revenue,” said Iain McCready, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, Atlanta.

“On the innovation side, 2D bar codes are a critical consumer-enabler to mobile commerce, delivering multimedia experiences to consumers, and developing targeted one-to-one dialogues via a very intimate technology, the mobile phone,” he said.

“On the revenue front, Sony Ericsson sees significant financial potential via revenue sharing for themselves and their mobile operator partners.”

Sony Ericsson is a 50/50 joint venture of Sony Corp. and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson. The company said its strategy is to become the industry leader in mobile communication entertainment by offering consumer experiences through mobile devices, accessories, content and applications.

NeoMedia Technologies is a provider of mobile bar code scanning services, letting mobile devices with cameras read 1D and 2D bar codes.

NeoMedia also provides the infrastructure for 1D and 2D camera bar code scanning and its associated commerce functionality.

Bar codes and mobile
The NeoReader is a universal bar-code-scanning application that reads all standard 1D and 2D bar code symbologies such as QR, Data Matrix, Aztec, UPC and EAN.

Mr. McCready said that preloading and embedding the application lowers consumer-adoption barriers and it eliminates the need to download software.

Preloading will encourage trial and experimentation for consumers and give the advertising community confidence that there is a scalable universe of scan-ready handsets to interact with their offerings, he said.

Mr. McCready said that the initial geographic focus is Britain and Northern Europe.

NeoMedia and Sony Ericsson have agreed to work collaboratively in targeting media agencies, publishers, brands and carriers in these countries as a starting point, but the reader will be preloaded globally.

Mr. McCready said that Sony Ericcson has committed to educating consumers via in-box and point-of-sale promotions.

The key Sony Ericsson target consumer demographic is 15-36-year-olds who are social-media-centric and music, video and photography fans.

NeoMedia said that Sony Ericsson’s objective is to build an independent mobile advertising and marketing services revenue stream that leverages its large inventory across its mobile portal, Fun & Downloads, applications, Playnow, mobile discovery TrackI, QR codes and augmented reality.

Mr. McCready said marketers and consumers are ready to embrace bar codes.

“Just take a look at how marketers have used the firm’s technology – there’s broad application potential, for sure,” Mr. McCready said. “Ralph Lauren used the NeoReader to market their U.S. Open tennis apparel, Esprit is incorporating mobile bar codes and the NeoReader as part of their innovative ‘Mirror, Mirror’ promotion, Volkswagen and Mazda leveraged 2D bar codes to launch new vehicles to a tech-savvy target and Telering is using 2D barcodes to reach students.”

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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