Monday, May 05, 2008

Another Step Closer To Mobile Code Standards

Last December the Mobile Codes Consortium (MC2) announced it had carried out initiatives which lead to GSM Association (GSMA) and Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) activities to accelerate mass mobile marketing using 2D barcodes.

The Mobile Codes Consortium,
the cross-industry group created to promote unified standards in camera cell-phone barcode reading technology, in conjunction with the GSM Association and the Open Mobile Alliance, continues to bring large scale adoption of mobile codes closer to reality.

A work item document entitled "Mobile 2D Bar codes" was created last year by the Mobile Codes Consortium and approved by the OMA Board of Directors.

The approved work item included the following recommendations: (1) Choice of 2D barcode symbologies (2) The data stored in the barcodes and (3) The terminal behaviors in response to reading barcodes, including behaviors with respect to some existing (1D and 2D) barcodes standards. Prime candidates include the industrial standards for barcode symbologies QR and Datamatrix, and the NFC Forum NDEF data structure. The normative specifications to be developed shall ensure backward compatibility with relevant 2D barcode systems, so that mobile devices that are compliant to the specifications to be developed shall be able to recognize and process such existing 2D barcode print-outs or images.

The work item also concluded that, barcode reading software needs to be included in devices supporting mobile codes, and the interface towards back-end servers also needs to be agreed.

The OMA recently published a February 2008 Technical Plenary Summary stating that a 2D barcode white paper has been completed. The summary also noted that work was about to commence on formal standards.

According to Tim Kindberg of HP Laboratories and co-chairman of the MC2, "Barcode reading
technology makes it much easier for people with mobile phones to click straight from paper or displays to content and services. You just point the camera and click to connect. This will make the mobile internet much more accessible."

Thomas Curwen of Publicis Dialog and co-chairman of MC2, said: "Mobile barcodes will
make advertising much more efficient. Customers clicking straight from, say a poster, to the Internet on their mobile device – will make traditional display advertising as interactive as banner ads. With the added advantage that advertisers can track and measure which ads create the highest click-through rates." Curwen added, "It is unique for an ad agency to be leading technological change on such a scale – and we are doing this because it will help make us more efficient."

The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) delivers open specifications for creating interoperable services
that work across countries, operators, fixed and mobile terminals. Driven by users’ needs and the expanding market for data services, the member companies of the Open Mobile Alliance stimulate the adoption of new and enhanced information, communication and entertainment services. The Open Mobile Alliance includes contributors from all key elements of the wireless value chain, and contributes to the timely and efficient introduction of services and applications.

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