Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Key Takeaways and Quotes from Mobile Engagement In Retail Conference

By Randy Smith,
Mobile Wallet Media
September 26, 2012

The Mobile Engagement In Retail Conference, in Denver on September 13-14, was a very well-rounded event. I gained new insights from experts in mobile retail, advertising, loyalty and payments.

Could Digital Watermarking replace QR or 2D barcodes? After seeing how Digimarc's technology works, my only question is why wouldn't it replace QR codes? It seems all that is needed is a branding and education campaign to make their tech dominant.

Digimarc's, Ed Knudsen explained how Digital Watermarks work much like a QR code scanner. Their app is called "Digimarc Discover App" and is avaibable for iphone and Android. To sum it up, the technology works by scanning digital or print images. Digimarc's code is not visiible to the human eye, but when scanned, works like a QR code. The user may be directed directly to a web page about the product or image content, page to buy the product featured or a coupon with a 1D or 2D bar code. It seems like the scanning of a Digimarc code takes just about as long as scanning a QR code. So for use with mobile phone or tablet app scanning, why are they better than QR codes?

Digimarc's Digital Watermarks are currently not better than QR codes, only because they are not understood or even perceived by consumers. When consumers see a QR or 2D bar code many if not most tech savvy cosumers recognize what they are and have used a scanner on their phone. This is not the case with DigiMarc's technology. However, QR codes are everywhere and are just plain ugly and do not work well to compliement beautifully crafted images.

So it appears that all Digimarc needs to do is ramp up their publicity and media campaign to educate consumers, retailers and advertisers about their very cool and seamless tech. They have already struck big deals with major companies. Their use on Pinterest, the 3rd largest social network in the world with 104 million users, 80% of which are woman and half moms, is quite a compelling use of their tech. Digimarc's technology is also used for ID authentication and to prevent currency counterfitting. Think of how different the world might look without ugly QR codes and with the branding and advertising possibilities with Digital Watermarking. I don't think they will replace QR codes displayed for scan at POS.

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