Wednesday, February 28, 2007

ONE Water's Mobile Website Goes Live

Last November it was announced that NeoMedia's mobile qode platform would be used by the UK's One Water to web-enable 5 million bottles of water at 4,000 UK retailers including Tesco, Morrison's, Waitrose and Co-op supermarkets, Total gas stations, and virtually all colleges and universities in the UK.

According to a representative at One Water, NeoMedia's 2D smartcodes started rolling out at the end of January on the new 750ml bottles initially, and will probably take until Easter for them to be national.

Duncan Goose, founder of ONE Water and CEO of Global Ethics added that, "qode® will play a leading role in our marketing approach because it gives us unprecedented flexibility combined with the immediacy of working in real time to deliver promotions and establish relationships with our consumers."

ONE, the ethical water brand, became the first European product to sign-up to use NeoMedia's 2D smartcodes on all of its packaging to communicate with its customer base via the Mobile Internet.

ONE water, which is supported by celebrities in the U.K., gives 100% of its profits to Playpumps™, the charity which brings fresh drinking water to where it is most needed in Africa. Along with ONE water, Playpumps has the support of leading international philanthropic organizations including USAID, the Clinton Foundation, The MCJ Foundation, The Case Foundation, Unilever, Crealy Adventure Parks, TNT, Vodacom, PEPFAR, Lemelson Foundation, International Finance Corporation, and Jay-Z.

ONE Water said that NeoMedia's qode will unlock the potential of the Mobile Web, allowing its consumers real-time access to important information about the brand and its humanitarian work in Africa, together with competitions, special offers, and even over-the-air donations.

To install qode on your mobile device, connect to via the mobile web. Once you have qode downloaded and installed, simply key in the qode®word "ONE" or click on the ONE Water smartcode shown to the right.

ONE Water's mobile website

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Mobile Codes Consortium Takes Shape

Leading mobile communications companies meet in London on Tuesday to consider a plan that would help turn mobile phones into personal barcode readers – a move that will stimulate the first big mobile-driven advertising market.

By pointing a camera phone at special 2D barcodes (Datamatrix, QR, and Aztec codes) printed on advertisements or product packaging, users would be able to find out more information or instantly download coupons or other marketing offers, supporters of the initiative say.

Though already common in Japan and South Korea, the use of mobile phones to read 2D barcodes remains rare elsewhere.

Progress has been held back by the lack of common technology that would let any camera enabled phone read any type of 2D barcode, and then complete the necessary routing needed to link back to the relevant information on the web, according to backers of the London initiative.

Tuesday’s meeting, prompted by an alliance between technology and marketing giants Hewlett-Packard and the UK's Publicis Groupe, has been called to try to promote standards in this area. Companies due to attend include Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Vodafone, and Deutsche Telekom, said Tim Kindberg, an HP researcher and founder of the Mobile Codes Consortium.

However, other companies involved in the field say signs of strong consumer adoption of the technology in recent months in Japan and South Korea has stimulated a rash of experiments elsewhere in the world that is likely to make the technology widespread, regardless of the standards push.

In one of the widest-ranging initiatives to date, DuPont last week said it would make 2D barcodes available on the cans, bottles and many other types of packaging that it supplies to consumer product companies around the world.

Thanks to early work by carriers such as DoCoMo in Japan and China Mobile, “there are already some pretty basic standards that everyone can live by”, said Scanbuy CEO Jonathan Bulkeley, whose technology is being used by DuPont.

However, Mr Kindberg said the more competitive mobile communications markets that exist in other countries such as Europe and North America make it harder for agreement on technology to emerge in these places. “It’s been on the verge of happening for some time now – the technology is there, but the problem is the fragmentation in the market.”

The HP/Publicis group, known as the Mobile Codes Consortium, hoped to reach basic agreements on technology within a year, he added.

The widespread use of 2D barcodes to make many objects “internet-enabled” would have applications far beyond advertising, said Charles Fritz, chairman and founder of NeoMedia Technologies, whose qode and Lavasphere technology is being used by HP and Publicis.

By making it easy to find information on any object, it would create an “internet of things” that would create extensive links between the physical and electronic worlds, he added.

Word on the street was that there were 22 parties at the MC2 meeting this past Tuesday consisting of Carriers, OEM's, and technology companies such as Vodafone, France Telecom, Telefonica, Deutsche Telekom, Hutchison Whampoa, Telecom Italia, and Cingular just to name a few. With such predominate backing from these 22 deeply involved parties, MC2 will certainly set the global standards for mobile smartcode dissemination.

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Thank you for taking the time to drop by and visit my blog. My hope and overall goal is to provide an informative outlet for mobile news from around the world, and will do my best to provide frequent updates and work diligently to cover this rapidly growing and evolving mobile landscape.

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