GS1 UK backs industry initiative to standardise mobile scanning.

GS1 UK, the independent global supply chain data standards and solutions organisation, has announced its participation in a worldwide industry initiative, GS1 Mobile Com, which will enable consumers to access product information via their mobile phones.

Cameras, a common feature on mobile phones, can scan bar codes, allowing access to life-saving product information about allergens, authenticity and nutritional content. Consumers will be able to find the latest information about product recalls, for example the items recently affected by the Irish pork contamination crisis. They will also be able to scan the contents of their baskets or redeem coupons as they shop.

GS1 Mobile Com is working with retailers and manufacturers including Carrefour, Nestl, LOreal and Proctor & Gamble to promote the use of existing GS1 standards and develop new ones where necessary so that a global application can be developed.

This will prevent fragmentation in the market and ensure that the same bar code can be scanned using a mobile phone regardless of the country, much like the common bar code featured on millions of products and scanned by retailers globally today. Standards are the key to generating a new market in mobile scanning that will benefit existing users of the GS1 system as well as newcomers.

Global standards are going to revolutionise the way consumers and manufacturers interact in store. The mobile phone will become an enabler to provide consumers with better information so they can make more informed purchasing decisions, says Khurram Hamid, Global Head Mobile Marketing Innovation, P&G

Bar codes are shrinking in size and have the capability to carry more product information such as expiry date and batch number. A new smaller version, the GS1 DataBar, is set for adoption in 2010. However, mobile scanning offers further potential to supplement information and free up space on product packaging allowing more room for mandatory nutritional advice. Additionally, they present an opportunity to provide live product information, rather than static data.

Retailers are facing tough conditions in the present economic climate and they must find innovative ways to relate to consumers. The appetite for product information is insatiable and mobile scanning presents an opportunity for consumers to receive information tailored to their needs, explains Gary Lynch, chief executive of GS1 UK. A simple scan could alert a consumer suffering from Coeliacs Disease that a product contains gluten, and a consumer who is worried about whether a product in their fridge is affected by a contamination scare could put their mind at rest. The sky really is the limit.

About GS1 UK
GS1 UK has driven innovation in the supply chain for over thirty years. It is part of the global GS1 organisation, dedicated to the development and implementation of global data standards and solutions for the supply chain.  The GS1 System is the most widely used supply chain standards system in the world.  GS1 UK helps industry to implement these data standards through the use of bar codes, RFID, Global Data Synchronisation (GDS) and electronic business messaging.

About GS1 Mobile Com
GS1 Mobile Com is an industry-wide initiative to enable businesses to give consumers access to product information via their mobile phones. The objective is to provide a simple way for consumers and businesses to interact based on an open infrastructure and open standards.

GS1 Mobile Com White Paper
Published in February 2008, Mobile Commerce opportunities and challenges is a White Paper than seeks to demonstrate the reality of mobile commerce for businesses and consumers alike and the need for GS1 to contribute in a neutral way to establish relevant global standards for the benefit of all stakeholders. It covers the following areas:

Mobile Commerce Overview: why mobile is changing the way business happens

Business Applications: what use cases are possible with GS1 standards and how

Technical Environment: building blocks for mobile commerce

The White Paper is available for download from

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