Pipeline Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 5
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Mobile Barcodes Open Doors to New Applications Opportunities

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Perspective from Ed Finegold

Mobile Barcodes Open Doors to New Applications Opportunities. But OSS/BSS Providers Must Better Define their Role in the Application Value Chain

Barcodes are becoming even more prevalent in our everyday environment. Until recently, specialized scanners were required to read the barcodes on groceries, price tags, boarding passes, baggage tags, shipping labels, and event tickets. A number of applications, like NeoReader and Scanlife, have since emerged that are designed to turn any mobile phone with a camera into a barcode reader. The concept is simple – the phone can snap an image of a barcode, and the application can read the information embedded in it and follow its instructions. Further, more phones are entering the market sporting relatively large LCD screens that can present barcodes for scanning. These developments are opening the door to new applications for barcode technology and are bringing yet another set of useful functionality to mobile devices. Mobile operators are trying to figure out how to turn these technologies into revenue, and OSS/BSS developers need to define how they can actually help.

Mobile operators are trying to figure out how to turn these technologies into revenue, and OSS/BSS developers need to define how they can actually help.


As the price of everything that's manufactured in the hydrocarbon economy escalates, the cost of printing on and distributing paper items is increasing. As long as an increasing percentage of the mobile device population is capable of displaying the same information as something printed on paper, it makes sense that it's time to

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Leaving Paper Behind

Despite the myopia some pandering politicians display as they baselessly dispute humanity's contribution to global warming, "going green" is in. We might hope that large corporations would be environmentally conscious because it's the right thing to do. In reality though, their increasing desire to side with tree-huggers is based on the amount of expense it can save them. As one sage telecom expert recently pointed out over a round of beers, Wal-Mart didn't start installing skylights in their stores to reduce their carbon footprint. They did it because it saves them millions per year in energy costs.

leave as much paper behind as possible. This is exactly what's beginning to happen with airline boarding passes. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, within the next year Qantas passengers will officially be able to present the barcodes from their boarding passes on mobile devices rather than on paper. While some people, such as savvy iPhone users, are already doing this, Qantas is among the first airlines to encourage this practice in an official capacity.

This concept can, and probably should, be applied to any kind of ticket or coupon that would otherwise be printed on paper and scanned with a barcode reader. Concert and

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