As strange it may sound, but right now the bar scanners that you see in stores can’t read the bar code displayed on your phones’ screen. This is because of the reflective screen.
This has been the biggest limiting factor for the mobile couponing industry but now Procter & Gamble is partnering with Mobeam to bring in a technology that will clear all these roadblocks.
Mobile coupons are similar to discount coupons that you get when you buy a product or as part of a special marketing campaign delivered to you on your phone.
The technology, created by Mobeam of California, coverts the barcode data into a beam of light that can be read by barcode scanners already found at store checkout counters. No additional point of sale (POS) equipment is needed.
The couponing represents a growing $3.7 billion segment of the consumer packaged goods (CPG) market in North America, with more than 300 billion coupons distributed every year and redemption on the increase as consumers strive for greater value and savings. Even in India the market though small is growing at an exponential pace.
Technology like these can further fuel this growth especially in the growth markets like India, where shopkeepers and stores are slow in adopting new technologies.
However, things are not as rosy as it sounds. Mobeam will have to integrate this technology at the core of the smartphones, and for that they need support from phone makers.
MoBeam is already in talks with leading phone makers, names of which they have not disclosed. Notably, Samsung Venture Investment Corp, an investment arm of Samsung, recently invested money in Mobeam.
“Mobeam is working with handset manufacturers to engineer its light-based communications technology into new lines of handsets. P&G, mobeam and other partners expect to test the technology in market in 2012,” Mobeam said in a statement.
While P&G, which owns Vicks, Head and Shoulders, Ariel and Pantene brands, has a huge presence in India, it has not started it eCoupon buiness in India. But with this technology Indian foray into this sector would become much easier for the company.