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Intelligent bar code scanning coming to mobile devices


Consumers often let down when scanning bar codes in stores

GS1 and Open Mobile Alliance team up to bring intelligent bar code scanning to mobile devices


GS1 and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) are collaborating to enable bar code scanning features built directly into mobile devices. This will make it easier for application developers to allow their apps to scan and link to trusted content.


Bryan Sullivan, OMA board of directors vice-chairman, comments, "Mobile data is growing exponentially and bar code scanning is a key driver for consumers to access data and media owners to engage users. Today, the industry is working with a bar codes ecosystem that is fragmented by non-standard solutions. This specification will enable application developer innovation for the mCommerce and mobile advertising industry, allowing companies to develop interoperable and scalable applications."


GS1, the supply chain standards organisation, manages the system of product bar codes used by close to two million companies on billions of products across the world. OMA, the mobile standards organisation, is recognised for a range of specifications and application programming interfaces (APIs) to enable mobile services. These include OMA DM (device management), which has been deployed on over 1.4 billion devices. The two organisations have been working together since 2011.


GS1 and OMA will develop a new specification leveraging existing GS1 and OMA standards. It will allow mobile device manufacturers and operators to build mobile devices with the following key bar code scanning capabilities:

• universal scanning of standardised bar codes

• built-in code scanning capability accessible to users manually through the device camera, and also to applications thanks to a Web API exposed on the device

• intelligent linking of bar codes with trusted content provided by the owners of the bar codes

• support for collection of user analytics including location on an opt-in basis


For application developers the specification will simplify and accelerate deployment of applications that use code scanning by providing:

• more flexible integration of code scanning into applications 

• seamless and more consistent user experience, reduced time to market: common standards and enablers will reduce both complexity and development costs


Ultimately consumers will benefit through a new generation of more intuitive applications.


"Our consumers are increasingly using mobile devices to research and purchase products. This new specification will allow more consumers to access accurate and trusted product information to help them with their daily lives," says John Phillips, svp customer supply chain and logistics at PepsiCo.


The two organisations aim to launch the new specification in 2014 and encourage companies to actively participate in the development process this year. The initial list of companies participating includes Fujitsu, NEC and AT&T. To participate in this activity, contact Cameron Green ([email protected]) or Kennie Kwong ([email protected]).


Mobile codes and NFC panel discussion: 6 June 2013, Dublin, Ireland
On June 6, GS1 will participate in a panel discussion on Mobile Codes and NFC as part of a seminar hosted by OMA at the Burlington Hotel Dublin, Ireland. The OMA seminar is designed to bring together thought leaders in the area of Big Data as it relates to mCommerce and Mobile Advertising to discuss the ecosystem and make recommendations about the potential for new standards or best practices, which might help stimulate innovation, market growth and greater end-user satisfaction.


Panel participants will examine the way in which tags such as QR codes and NFC, combined with functionality on the mobile device, can lead to enhanced services. Attendees can join in person or over the interactive live-streamed webinar, which will enable viewers to present questions to the panel. Attendance is free for OMA members and a select number of invited guests. Interested parties should contact Elizabeth Rose at [email protected]. See www.omaevents.org to register for the webinar.


Facts about bar code scanning
• According to comScore, a leading firm in measuring the digital world, more than half the U.S. smartphone population used their phones in 2011 to perform product research while shopping in stores, while 1-in-5 scanned a bar code and 1-in-8 compared prices on their phones.

"QR Code Usage Among European Smartphone Owners Doubles Over Past Year. Germans are most avid users of QR Codes, while Spain Ranks as Fastest Growing Market." Source: comScore, Inc. Sept. 2012


"Mobile Barcode Trend Report: Holiday Shopping Edition (U.S.): One million more scans than last year; people are scanning multiple times; Ages 25-44 made up the majority of users scanning at 49%." Source: Scanbuy Inc. 2012.

• A recent study of QR code usage among consumers in the US, UK, Germany and France found that Americans were the most likely to have used the technology. Source: eMarketer, Jan 2013

"Top 30 QR code uses." Source: Emerging Technologies smartblogs, Jan 2013


Source: GS1 



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