The Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone, which was recently launched in New York is the world’s first mobile device to read 1-D barcodes.
The phone includes imobeam’s light based communications (LBC) technology so that it can beam traditional 1-D barcodes. With embedded mobeam technology, the Galaxy S4 will be able to engage in mobile commerce at millions of locations worldwide without requiring retailers to make changes to their existing point of sale (POS) systems or technologies.
Mobeam’s patented technology solves the key problem that has limited the progress of mobile commerce: the vast majority of existing POS systems are unable to communicate with smartphones. Mobeam converts barcodes, coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards into a beam of light that can be read by every one of the estimated 165 million laser scanners in use today by retailers worldwide.
With mobeam’s technology, the Galaxy S4 can beam traditional 1-D barcode data to any laser scanner with no new equipment, such as optical scanners or backend systems, required by the retailer. As Samsung noted during this year’s Mobile World Congress, retailers prefer barcodes because they don’t have to install any new infrastructure to support them.
‚”Mobeam’s vision is simple: to make mobile commerce work with existing point of sale technology,‚” said Chris Sellers, CEO of mobeam. ‚”Making cutting-edge smartphones work with barcodes might not sound sexy, but it means consumers now have the ability to beam items such as coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards and event tickets at millions of locations something that was previously impossible. Barcodes are universal and won’t be replaced anytime soon, meaning retailers don’t need to upgrade their POS systems. The mobile industry now has a commerce technology that can work everywhere, and the world will see it first on the Samsung Galaxy S4.‚”
More than 500 million people around the world are expected to receive mobile coupons this year, representing an increase of 30 percent from 2012. While smartphones are simplifying life in a variety of new ways, true mobile couponing has not been an option because the vast majority of in-store laser scanners cannot scan barcodes displayed on mobile phone screens. Mobeam’s technology overcomes this technical barrier.
After recently testing mobeam’s technology, mobile commerce blogger Jeb Brilliant said mobeam’s technology has the ‚”potential to change the way we shop and pay for items,‚” and that it ‚”will change mobile payments by enabling current POS scanners to scan a phone.‚”
In the past year, mobeam has also partnered with Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest consumer packaged goods producer and one of the world’s leading coupon distributors. The partnership was developed through P&G’s open innovation Connect+Develop program in a joint effort to create a mobile couponing system that could make shopping with coupons simpler and faster for consumers and retailers at the same time.
‚”We know that our consumers are increasingly on-the-go and looking for opportunities to simplify their lives,‚” said Laura Becker, general manager of P&G Global Business Development. ‚”We also know that they see coupons as a great way try new products or save on trusted brands their families have come to love. Delivering both in other words, couponing on the go through this new technology creates a double win for the shopper and with no added cost for the retailer.‚”
This initiative, along with other mobeam programs to develop an innovative and secure process for clearing digital coupons, brings the industry one step closer to phasing out paper coupons entirely.
Mobeam’s technology also creates new possibilities for the hundreds of mobile commerce apps that exist and for app developers designing innovative new mobile commerce apps. Mobeam expects the first mobeam-enabled app to be available later this year.
‚”With mobeam-enabled applications, the checkout process becomes much easier for mobile users and retailers don’t incur the expense of overhauling their scanning technology,‚” said Chris Quinlan, founder and CEO of Ohana Companies, a leading provider of promotional marketing services. ‚”Everybody wins.‚”
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