Smart phones have been a boon to the application developer community, and this community will be instrumental in cultivating demand for AIDC suppliers. With nearly a half million apps created for smart phones, and downloads eclipsing 10 billion at Apple’s App Store alone, the implications of this mobile revolution are clear for AIDC suppliers participating in the retail and hospitality markets.
Mobile shopping applications are scaling rapidly. The number of consumers using mobile barcode scanning is conservatively estimated at 15 million, and scanning applications are being downloaded at unprecedented rates. A recently released Mobile Barcode Trend Report issued by ScanLife suggested 16X% growth in the fourth quarter of 2010, doubling the activity reported in Q3.
Clearly, the capability to display and scan barcodes with consumer grade devices will create opportunities for data capture suppliers, their channel partners and the customers they serve. Case in point: mobile coupon redemption. Providing a transparent link between the brand owner and the consumer responding to the offer, achieving higher redemption rates, and reducing coupon fraud while taking costs related to printing and distribution out of the equation makes for a pretty compelling value proposition.
Here’s what we think: the proliferation of mobile devices and couponing apps will drive demand for 2D imagers at the point of sale, devices that may enable a host of complementary applications ranging from age verification to auto-forms population. That’s the value proposition for data capture companies, and one that has product managers giddy with the prospect of a wholesale technology refresh at the point of sale.
But retailers and the customers they serve are only enamored with new technology when it works, and the proliferation of mobile software application developers presents a challenge for suppliers of 2D imagers. The high-touch ISV partner recruitment and collaborative selling techniques historically deployed by these suppliers must be complemented by broader product marketing and training initiatives designed to address the needs of this exploding and increasingly diverse channel segment. Webcasts, whitepapers and symposia are cost effective mechanisms to address some of the leading issues addressing this community, and these issues include:
- The benefits and drawbacks associated with proprietary and non-proprietary barcode symbologies
- The role of standards bodies such as GS1 will play in the codification and proliferation of best practices
- How to optimize symbology design and placement to improve scan rates
- What’s next: application extensions enabled by image capture
Those suppliers who address these issues and make it easier for developers to collaborate and bring solutions to market will benefit most by securing brand loyalty with an increasingly influential channel segment.