Throughout its Galaxy S4 launch event, Samsung kept touting one new feature after another. It tackled language translation as well as remote control functionality, along with a host of other interesting hardware and software niceties. One thing that wasn’t mentioned was the fact that the Galaxy S4 also comes with an intriguing new feature: mobeam. It offers a unique way of beaming barcodes onto regular laser scanners.
Mobeam, the company, is in the business of light-based communications, and the way that its product works is through carefully blasted “pulses of light” that somehow present laser scanners with fully-working barcodes. These, in turn, could then be used to redeem all types of things such as coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards, and more.
At the moment, mobeam seems to be launching exclusively with the Galaxy S4. However, Samsung is not Mobeam’s only partner. It has also partnered with Proctor and Gamble (P&G) to come up with a full mobile coupon system. Mobeam has also promised that it will release the mobeam API to developers very soon. When that happens, anyone with access to it will be able to create Mobeam-enabled mobile apps that will allow for increased adoption.
If you want to get technical, we’ve embedded a short video describing how mobeam works below. Also, you may check out some of the other details in the full press release, posted right below it.
Embedded mobeam technology makes Samsung’s newest smartphone the first to be compatible with over 165 million existing point of sale systems at retailers worldwide
SAN FRANCISCO, March 14, 2013 – Highlighted during the Samsung Unpacked event in New York City this evening, mobeam™ proudly announces that the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone will be the world’s first mobile device to integrate its light based communications (LBC) technology so it can beam traditional 1-D barcodes. With embedded mobeam technology, the Galaxy S4 will be able to engage in mobile commerce at millions of locations worldwide without requiring retailers to make changes to their existing point of sale (POS) systems or technologies.
Mobeam’s patented technology solves the key problem that has limited the progress of mobile commerce: the vast majority of existing POS systems are unable to communicate with smartphones. Mobeam converts barcodes, coupons, loyalty cards and gift cards into a beam of light that can be read by every one of the estimated 165 million laser scanners in use today by retailers worldwide.
With mobeam’s technology, the Galaxy S4 can beam traditional 1-D barcode data to any laser scanner with no new equipment, such as optical scanners or backend systems, required by the retailer. As Samsung noted during this year’s Mobile World Congress, retailers prefer barcodes because they don’t have to install any new infrastructure to support them.
“Mobeam’s vision is simple: to make mobile commerce work with existing point of sale technology,” said Chris Sellers, CEO of mobeam. “Making cutting-edge smartphones work with barcodes might not sound sexy, but it means consumers now have the ability to beam items such as coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards and event tickets at millions of locations – something that was previously impossible. Barcodes are universal and won’t be replaced anytime soon, meaning retailers don’t need to upgrade their POS systems. The mobile industry now has a commerce technology that can work everywhere, and the world will see it first on the Samsung Galaxy S4.”
More than 500 million people around the world are expected to receive mobile coupons this year, representing an increase of 30 percent from 2012. While smartphones are simplifying life in a variety of new ways, true mobile couponing has not been an option because the vast majority of in-store laser scanners cannot scan barcodes displayed on mobile phone screens. Mobeam’s technology overcomes this technical barrier.
After recently testing mobeam’s technology, mobile commerce blogger Jeb Brilliant said mobeam’s technology has the “potential to change the way we shop and pay for items,” and that it “will change mobile payments by enabling current POS scanners to scan a phone.”
In the past year, mobeam has also partnered with Procter & Gamble (P&G), the world’s largest consumer packaged goods producer and one of the world’s leading coupon distributors. The partnership was developed through P&G’s open innovation Connect+Develop program in a joint effort to create a mobile couponing system that could make shopping with coupons simpler and faster for consumers and retailers at the same time.
“We know that our consumers are increasingly on-the-go and looking for opportunities to simplify their lives,” said Laura Becker, general manager of P&G Global Business Development. “We also know that they see coupons as a great way try new products or save on trusted brands their families have come to love. Delivering both – in other words, couponing on the go – through this new technology creates a double win for the shopper and with no added cost for the retailer.”
This initiative, along with other mobeam programs to develop an innovative and secure process for clearing digital coupons, brings the industry one step closer to phasing out paper coupons entirely. Mobeam’s technology also creates new possibilities for the hundreds of mobile commerce apps that exist and for app developers designing innovative new mobile commerce apps. Mobeam expects the first mobeam-enabled app to be available later this year.
“With mobeam-enabled applications, the checkout process becomes much easier for mobile users and retailers don’t incur the expense of overhauling their scanning technology,” said Chris Quinlan, founder and CEO of Ohana Companies, a leading provider of promotional marketing services. “Everybody wins.”
For more information on the Samsung Galaxy S4 visit: http://www.samsung.com/us/news/
For more information on mobeam visit: www.mobeam.com
To watch a “How It Works” tutorial of mobeam’s technology, visit: http://www.mobeam.com/how-it-works/
To watch mobeam’s “Supermarket Musical” music video, visit: www.mobeam.com/contest
For video b-roll of mobeam visit: http://mobeam.com/media-resources/
Mobeam, Inc. is transforming mobile commerce with its unique and patented light based communications technology. The company was recently named one of the hottest technology companies in San Francisco for 2013 by business research firm Lead411. Overcoming the technical barrier preventing mobile phones from interacting with laser scanners at checkout, mobeam’s technology provides universal access at point of sale (POS), enabling the transmission of coupons, loyalty offers, gift cards, tickets and other barcode data at retailers worldwide. Mobeam’s technology creates new capabilities for existing mobile phone designs, and requires no changes to retailer POS infrastructure. Mobeam is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif. For more information, visit www.mobeam.com.
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I can see it now. Let me mobeam my 2 for 1 coupon. $50 discount accepted.