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Telstra hosts mobile advertising with 2D bar codes

Carrier Telstra Corp. has rolled out its mobile advertising campaign manager, the next evolution in the company's mobile bar code platform.

The new advertising campaign manager provides marketers -- including Smirnoff, Sony, Toyota, Kia, Universal Pictures and AT&T's -- with real-time reporting on campaign performance metrics, including the number of codes scanned and response volume by location, time and media type. Australia-based Telstra tapped the enterprise manager reporting system of 3GVision, which specializes in mobile bar code reading services and image-processing technologies for the mobile Internet.

"3GVision's cooperation with Telstra is part of the company's strategy to expand worldwide and increase its share of the mobile operator segment," said Ofer Lev, vice president of products and marketing for 3GVision, Yehuda, Israel.

"Integrating 3GVision's comprehensive end-to-end 2D Mobile Barcode Solution allows mobile operators like Telstra to use their marketing infrastructure to the benefit of the entire mobile eco-system -- the operator, advertisers and consumers -- making it a uniquely successful and revenue-generating service," he said.

"Mobile operators increase their mobile content and data revenue ARPU generated from their subscriber base while third-party brand owners and advertisers receive real-time reporting on campaign performance metrics including detailed reports based on Telstra's database. "

Since 2002, 3GVision has embedded more than 100 million mobile phones with its 1D and 2D bar code readers for global tier-one carriers such as Telstra, France Telecom and NTT Docomo, mobile handset manufacturers including Nokia, Samsung, LG, Sony Ericsson and Motorola, as well as most Japanese vendors including Sharp, NEC, Kyocera and Toshiba.

The Telstra Mobile Codes service lets Telstra Next G network customers scan quick-response (QR) codes on media such as newspaper ads, posters, in-store advertising materials and product packaging with their mobile camera phone.

Once scanned, codes direct phones to information and promotional offers hosted on the mobile Web, eliminating the need to enter long mobile Web addresses or response details.

When combined with aggregated customer data, the mobile bar code service delivers real-time insight into campaign progress, according to Telstra.

Response data includes approximate location, response rates and time, media type and consumer segment, designed to help advertisers maximize their promotional spend by adjusting elements such as media mix and location mid-campaign if necessary.

3GVision's 2D mobile bar code system incorporates a server hosted by Telstra, a customized campaign manager application integrated with specific carrier services and data, as well as code reading software embedded in Telstra Next G handsets.

"3GVision's solutions address the challenge of intrusive mobile marketing," Mr. Lev said. "The pull of mobile bar codes overcomes this issue and offers a direct, accountable way of connecting with consumers."

The Telstra mobile code service was launched in mid-2008 and already the code reading application is installed on more than 1.5 million handsets across 22 different models.

The service lets consumers to interact with advertising and boosts the immediacy with which they can respond while on the go.

It is available on a wide variety of mobile platforms ranging from JAVA devices to Nokia's Symbian, Microsoft's Windows Mobile, RIM's BlackBerry and in the near future also Apple's iPhone.

Subscribers usually get the reader application preinstalled on their device located in the My Place application menu.

"Consumers love 2D bar codes as an easy way to access the mobile Internet and engage with services and media they are interest in, as has been demonstrated in Japan, where mobile bar codes are part of everyday life and can be found everywhere," Mr. Lev said.

"In most other countries, the industry is still at the early stages and consumers who interact with codes are generally young," he said.

"There is not yet widespread adoption and use of 2D bar codes hasn't come close to reaching its high potential, although mobile bar codes have the potential to become the mainstream."

Some barriers remain to widespread adoption of mobile bar codes.

Mass-market adoption is largely dependent on a higher number of carriers willing to pre-embed the client application on their handsets. Not all consumers are willing to independently download the client.

There are currently multiple 2D bar code standards, though the QR and DM are the most popular, according to 3GVision.

Market awareness is another issue.

"Higher market education is needed on how the process actually works and how mobile operators, advertisers and consumers can benefit from fast and easy access to the mobile Internet," Mr. Lev said.