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AT&T Launches Barcode App For Android, BlackBerry

Users can scan 2D QR and datamatrix codes and 1D UPC and EAN barcodes in magazines, stores and online using the free downloadable app.
Touting consumer barcode scanning as the "next generation of interactive targeted marketing," AT&T said Monday it is making available a free mobile application for several different handsets that will read barcodes and let consumers learn about a product or promotion right away. The carrier said it is also investing in a suite of products and services that will give marketers the ability to better measure their target audience.

The products and services include AT&T Code Scanner, which users can download for free from different app stores including BlackBerry App World and Android Market, to scan 2D QR and datamatrix codes and 1D UPC and EAN barcodes in magazines, stores and online. Users can also download AT&T Code Scanner by going to scan.mobi on their mobile handset. AT&T is also offering for free its Create-a-Code service that lets consumers create individualized mobile barcodes that can be used to direct friends and family to a v-card, Facebook account, personal blog or website. The service is at www.att.com/createacode. Another application, AT&T's Code Management Platform, which is geared at businesses, lets users build, manage and measure mobile barcodes campaigns.

"Our focus on the opportunity that mobile barcode offers businesses to connect directly with their consumers is the latest example of the work AT&T is doing to drive the emergence of new categories of devices and applications that are enhanced by wireless network connectivity," said Michael Antieri, president, Advanced Enterprise Mobility Solutions, AT&T Business Solutions, in a statement. "Over the course of this year, we intend to help our business customers create measurable and fully managed brand experiences with mobile barcodes to better interact with their consumers."

Advertisers can deliver relevant content and offers to consumers through barcode scanning, which is also a valuable search tool for finding promotions and information from their mobile device, the carrier said. Citing a recent ABI Research survey, AT&T said 80% of respondents said they are interested in scanning barcodes with their mobile device, and 69% want to scan barcodes to find and redeem coupons and discounts.

Neil Strother, an analyst with ABI Research, said the new applications and services are the next step in educating consumers about barcode scanning. "It's a step in the practical interaction in how a brand can communicate through a mobile device to consumers through a barcode,'' he said. "There's a lot of information in these networks that have products or service capabilities behind them." However, there are other scanners on the market, including from Microsoft, so AT&T will face competition, Strother said. The trick will be whether consumers will see the benefit of using them.

"From a consumer standpoint, it always has to be 'What's in it for me?' I'm only going to engage in this if I see some benefit from other side,'' he said.

The carrier said the mobile barcode services are currently being beta tested with 12 enterprise customers. It did not say when they would be made available.

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