Motorola Invests in Scanbuy, Joining Microsoft and Google in the Barcode Race
Motorola Ventures has invested in Scanbuy, the company behind the ScanLife platform. Leading Scanbuy’s most recent investment round, Motorola is one of the many major forces in mobile service that is looking for more ways to incorporate bar code scanners into their products and services.
The idea of using mobile camera phones as bar code scanners isn’t all that new–it’s been around for some time before the iPhone even launched in 2007. The concepts behind most of Scanbuy’s service has been widely adopted in oversea markets, particularly in Asian countries where mobile phones have far deeper penetration in the consumer market than in the U.S.
The rapid expansion of smart phone usage, however, has brought about a great opportunity for manufacturers and app developers to take advantage of this growing mobile marketplace. Having a wide pool of consumers to reach out to, Scanlife’s own platform can have a better chance at becoming a prevalent player in the industry.
Manufacturers such as Motorola also have vested interests in platforms such as Scanlife’s, particularly as it reaches nearly every aspect of our current mobile economy. Scanlife’s platform has consumer-facing apps that mobile users can download directly, as well as tools targeted towards businesses seeking better and more direct communication with consumers.
The amount of personalized data and larger research that can cme from a platform such as Scanlife is rather immense, moving even beyond the realm of advertising. One product Scanlife offers is a tool for keeping personal health records, offering an easily-accessed point of shared communication between doctors and their patients.
Having immediate access to things like health records through one’s mobile phone is also a trend for which we’re seeing a great deal of exploration, particularly as the matter of convenience makes it easier to push products to consumers.
Taking a top-down approach, having a vested interest in Scanbuy means Motorola could be able to better incorporate something like Scanlife into its devices. This removes a step in the process of getting bar code scanning tools into the hands of mobile users, as it’s already installed onto the phone. Integrating such services with other mobile tools and apps is another way in which services such as Scanlife will continue to permeate the consumer market.
More of the larger companies, especially those creating mobile platforms and devices, are turning to the incorporation of bar code-scanning tools at the onset of their development processes. Microsoft just released a program for creating your own bar codes earlier this week. Google Goggles is another example of how image-scanning through the mobile phone’s camera can serve both individual and enterprise needs. It’s the point of access combined with the immediate gratification of connecting the physical and virtual realms that interests companies like Motorola, heightening the importance of platforms such as Scanlife’s.
As far as the enterprise world goes, the ability to provide information to consumers is also a key point to consider. If companies and brands can leverage this portal between the physical and virtual realms, they are better engaging their consumes and giving them some of the information they would have sought out anyway.
For a company like Motorola,e nabling this top-down approach means greater appeal to the business aspects of Scanbuy’s services. Helping Scanbuy to enhance it’s ability to become an all-inclusive portal could translate into big bucks for supporting the future of our mobile economy.