Friday, April 07, 2006

Fortune names Scanbuy one of the 25 "breakout companies"

25 Breakout Companies
Our 13th annual playlist of upstarts changing the game.

Bargain hunters have a new ally: the cellphone. Soon it will be easy to walk into a store, point your camera phone at the bar code on a product, and within seconds find the same item online for a comparable or better price.
Consumer bar-code technology, already common in Japan, is about to hit the U.S., says Olivier Attia. His 13-person company, Scanbuy, offers what he calls scancommerce software, which links any bar code to the Internet via camera phones. (The square code--above left--is designed to be especially phone-friendly.) The Nokia Series 60 and other phones can read the codes; they connect users to Amazon or PriceGrabber websites.
Before rushing to the mall, customers must download ScanZoom, Scanbuy's free software, to their cells. Scanbuy makes money by selling decoding technology to handset makers and by taking a cut from online retailers when goods are purchased via ScanZoom. Attia says he'll know he's arrived when "the sign outside the store reads NO PETS, NO FOOD, AND NO BAR-CODE SCANNING." -- Julie Schlosser


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