The short answer – I sure hope so! We need a universal standard and although it does not exist yet, ScanBuy seems to have the leg up on creating a global standard. They currently read both their proprietary code format as well as other QR codes. This doesn’t mean that they will monopolize the market, but certainly does give them a head start to remaining the major player for some time.
Earlier this year it was announced that Sprint would promote the installation of the ScanBuy reader. When I saw the ad (at the bottom of this post) in Wired magazine in Dec 2007 promoting the Scanbuy reader I was really excited. Here we are one year later and nothing.
For some reason the US is lagging behind in the QR code market, and I just don’t get it. QR codes can be a great way to activate and marketing and even non-marketing communications in all channels, and in a fairly engaging manner. Is it because our phone models and high speed data connections have lagged behind? That’s my main guess. Of course, using QR codes requires a level of education among consumers on how to use the technology, but the benefits are certainly there and we all have a vested interest in becoming part of the solution in our own ways.
Scanbuy announced that it has secured a global agreement with Samsung, the second largest phone manufacturer in the world (samsung is expected to sell over 200 million handsets in 2008). As part of the deal Samsung will preload the ScanLife mobile 2D barcode application on Samsung’s camera phones. Samsung will begin selling these phones in Spain, Italy, and Denmark starting as early as next month. Availability will quickly expand to other major markets including Mexico and the United States. Samsung’s extensive line of popular phones includes the Blackjack, Glyde, and the recently released Instinct.
Once this rolls out in the US, we will have a consumer base with a pre-installed QR code reader among the 18% of the market that Samsung represents. The ScanBuyreader is also currently available in the iPhone App Store, but I don’t know how embraced it is. Since next year has been the year for mobile for several years now – next year really does seem to be a good year for mobile marketing.