Mobile barcode and Quick Response code reading is the latest thing in generating information while on the go. Barcodes and QR codes have long been used by retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers to control inventory and pricing, but now they are increasingly being used by consumers - in stores, for example, where you can used your cellphone to scan the code on a product to get nutrition information or price comparisons, or at trade shows, where you can scan an individual's badge and get his or her business card. Those are just two of the uses of barcodes and QR codes, which are also used to keep statistics on customers, advertising and promotion, provide information at tourist sites (bringing users to a website with more information when they scan the code), and much more.
To read codes, of course, you need a code-reader app that can record codes with a user's cellphone camera – and Israel, as it happens, has the most widely distributed code technology company in the world. It's only over the past couple of years that codes have been used extensively in the U.S. and Europe, but they've been popular in Japan for over a decade. Or Yehuda-based 3GVision, established 11 years ago, was one of the world's pioneers working on code reader technology for mobile phones, and its solution was adopted by several large Japanese phone companies, including NTT Docomo – and as a pioneer in that market, 3GVision was swept up in the Japanese cellphone revolution. Today, its code reader is installed (by manufacturers and service providers) on 90% of cellphones sold in Japan!
Since 2002, in fact, 3GVision has embedded over 180 million mobile phones with its code readers for global Tier-1 mobile operators such as France Telecom, Telstra and NTT Docomo; mobile handset manufacturers including Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson, and Motorola; and most Japanese handset vendors including Sharp, NEC, Kyocera and Toshiba.
Users who don't live in Japan, of course, can download and install the company's i-nigma app, which will read barcodes and, if available in its database, provide you with information. When shopping, you can get nutrition information about a product, a list of stores that sell the product and how much it costs elsewhere, a downloadable coupon, etc., depending on the product and store.
And 3Gvision has partnered with all sorts of companies to provide innovative services: For example, a German insurance company uses the system to allow customers to file claims more quickly, by scanning barcodes on their insurance forms; with a consumer electronics company in Canada to confirm that items are in stock; and with a large Indian airline to provide information on services, and scheduling changes, with customers scanning a QR code on their e-tickets. These are just a few examples of how code technology is being used – and it's nice that an Israeli company is the definitive world leader in this up and coming area.