Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Store Technology Update: The Next Generation of Retail

Another type of personal assistant is being developed by Scanbuy, Inc. The company develops technology that provides mobile phones and other wireless devices with the ability to capture and decode the ever-present bar code. Scanbuy's Optical Intelligenceâ„¢ software transforms any camera phone into a personal bar code scanner that allows the immediate processing of the bar code. The software, which fits easily into a camera phone, PDA, or webcam, decodes and processes the information and provides users with multiple contents related to that code.

"It's the ultimate tool for comparison and smarter shopping. Your camera phone can become a personal, wireless, and interactive bar code scanner for less than half the price of traditional laser-based scanning equipment," says Scanbuy's Olivier Attia. "This software links the physical world to the Internet through the use of basic bar code technology. It helps businesses sell more products, and it also helps educate consumers, increasing the chances that they will be satisfied with their purchase and less likely to make a return."

Consumers aren't the only ones that will benefit from the Scanbuy technology. Businesses can reduce costs by replacing expensive scanners with cheaper scan-ready phones. Inventory management can be centralized, and field and sales forces can become more automated. There are even security applications — government officials can utilize the software to scan driver's licenses and other forms of identification at important checkpoints.

A consumer with a Scanbuy-equipped phone could theoretically walk into a store, scan a product they are interested in, and then through the phone's Internet connection, gain access to a complete list of the same product's availability and price variations at other stores.


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