SMS barcode revolution kicks off in Ireland

7 Jul 2004

A young Dublin mobile software firm has sparked the beginning of a new revolution in mobile commerce with the introduction of SMS bar codes that can be used in point-of-sale transactions, has learned. Textus already signed m-payment deals with Aircoach as well as popular drinks brands Stella Artois and Miller Beer for the first versions of the service to be experienced by consumers.

Described as a multi-modal mobile ticketing and redemption solution, the M-Scan solution will allow Aircoach customers, for example, to buy tickets for the service by either IVR (instant voice response) or over the internet. Once the credit card transaction has been completed a bar code for the appropriate quantity is sent instantly to the customer’s mobile phone. When the customer is boarding an Aircoach vehicle they simply open up the message and swipe the bar code image over a barcode reader beside the driver and the transaction is complete.

Textus marketing manager Brian Hannan added that brands like Stella Artois and Miller will use the technology for promotions whereby a pub’s audience can interact in pub-based entertainment or quizzes via their mobile phones and winners would be sent a barcode by SMS. The M-Scan device communicates with the Textus server via GPRS, and using sophisticated software developed by the company, decides the action to take to issue a ticket or reward or redemption. The M-Scan then issues a physical ticket from an internal thermal printer and the mobile phone user presents it as a ticket, or as a promotional offer.

Hannan explained that the technology is currently being piloted by Miller in Ireland and is being used actively by Stella Artois in Northern Ireland. “Nearly everybody has a mobile phone these days so we believe that there are serious advantages to be had in terms of other promotional or ticket-based events such as going to the cinema, a football match or concert. There are all kinds of possibilities that we are exploring,” he said.

Paul Mooney, Founder and CEO of Textus, said: “We are finally able to bridge the gap between the old economy of retailing and the new economy of digital commerce. For many years now, internet companies and digital marketing have struggled with the issue of making it easy for virtual engagement with promotions via internet or mobile phone to tie in with physical validation and dare I say it – we are bringing paper back into the process as it is what people are most comfortable with.

“In our case however, the printed ticket from our M-Scan is the final point in the process and our sophisticated technology has done all the work in between. The number of uses for this device in tandem with our technology is genuinely limited only in the imagination.”

By John Kennedy