Skip to Content

Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) Delivers 2D Barcode Standard and Registry to Enhance and Extend Mobile Commerce and Advertising Traffic

Be First!
by July 23, 2012 Technology

Billions of Devices, Hundreds of Networks, Different Resolution Parameters, Multiple Geographies — Global Scalability Requires Seamless Interworking of Camera Phones and Infrastructure

SAN FRANCISCO, CA–(Marketwire/AsiaNet Pakistan – Jul 18, 2012) – OMA announces its standard specification for encoding, decoding and resolution of mobile two-dimensional (2D) barcodes. Along with a centralized and open registry to assign a virtually limitless number of barcode management servers, the new OMA standard will allow retailers and advertisers to create sophisticated marketing, advertising and mobile commerce campaigns using cameras on mobile phones.

Non-standard solutions are prevalent in some markets, where mobile barcodes have seen significant to majority usage rates, which continue to grow across markets internationally. “The new OMA standard enables interoperability across a barcodes ecosystem that is currently fragmented by non-standard solutions,” says Mark Cataldo, Chairman of the Board, OMA. “Imagine a billboard at a bus stop directing consumers to point one mobile phone camera at one barcode, with multiple other directions for different phone models to point at separate barcodes. This is not a scalable model for the wide variety of retailers, advertisers, handset makers and mobile operators that want to deploy mobile codes to promote their products and services. OMA has solved this problem.”

In the Japanese market where mobile barcodes were first deployed, consumer usage grew exponentially once the three primary mobile operators agreed on a common specification to read barcodes. Standardized access to mobile barcodes with tailored and relevant consumer information will increase usage of barcodes, greatly simplify users’ interactions with product information, and allow advertisers and retailers to track and update their campaigns.

According to comScore, a leading firm in measuring the digital world, more than half the US population used their phones in 2011 to perform product research while shopping in stores, while 1-in-5 scanned a barcode and 1-in-8 compared prices on their phones. By using standardized barcodes and resolution parameters, users with a camera-equipped mobile phone will be able to point to a 2D barcode and engage directly with a marketing campaign or other content with as little as a single click. The use cases for barcodes and the variety of information and content they can contain is growing and evolving everyday.

“One potential use of barcodes is to provide a new retail experience that seamlessly links a physical item in a store to the virtual world of digital content — without opening a browser and typing in an address or entering search terms and dealing with multiple clicks. Consumers won’t accept a cumbersome experience like that on a mobile phone,” says Byron Morrison, President of Wireless at The Marketing Arm (a division of Omnicom Group Inc.). “OMA has made barcodes a more powerful, elegant mobile advertising and commerce channel for retailers, service providers and consumers. Not only has OMA standardized how a code is generated, read and resolved, regardless of the device being used; OMA has now defined a standardized code management platform for advertisers and retailers to monitor what happens within the network of servers that manage campaigns globally.”

The OMA standard supports two different models for mobile code resolution:
1. A Direct Code is resolved on the handset using a pre-loaded or easily downloaded application without any network interaction. Based on the code content, the phone may invoke other functions, such as launching the browser, initiating a phone call, SMS, or inserting contact information into the device address book.

2. Indirect Codes offer added flexibility because a code resolution server in the network resolves them. In this model, the code publisher can track analytics and dynamically update associated content without changing the 2D barcodes already in circulation in print ads, packaging, billboards and retail signage.

Based on existing specifications and deployments
Designed to address current fragmentation in the market, as well as expand the flexibility and tracking capability of new commerce and advertising campaigns, OMA included requirements from across the various stakeholders in the mobile codes ecosystem. Contributors to the standard include code resolution client and system vendors, service providers, handset manufacturers, mobile operators and guidance from advertisers through the Mobile Code Consortium and GSM Association.

The result is a highly scalable specification and a registry for a near limitless number of globally routable addresses of code resolution servers for indirect codes. By linking the registry with the versatility and flexibility of the indirect code model, the OMA standard has put in place the infrastructure required to unlock the potential of mobile barcodes.

OMA Mobile Codes Enabler functionality includes

  • Mandatory support for ISO/IEC QR Code and Data Matrix symbologies for optimal code reading based on a range of device camera capabilities, targeting global market coverage
  • Standardized encoding and decoding of data formats essential to consistent mobile code client behavior and user experience
  • Backwards compatibility with the popular Direct Code formats in Japan using NTT DOCOMO de facto standards
  • Optional features for Indirect Codes including: security, tracking & reporting of mobile code usage and client analytics, and barcode portability to support non lock-in relationships between code publishers and code resolution service providers
  • OMA’s Open Mobile Naming Authority (OMNA) providing a centralized registry service to ensure globally unique addresses for each campaign based on a virtually infinite address space of Indirect Code Identifiers; this capability will also support 2D barcodes used to link digital content to a limitless population of items envisaged in scenarios of ‘Internet of Things’ and ‘M2M’

Company contributions to OMA Mobile Codes Enabler V1.0
OMA would like to acknowledge the following companies for their valuable input to market requirements and/or technical design contributions for the completion of this standard.

  • AT&T/Cingular
  • China Mobile
  • Deutsche Telekom/T-Mobile
  • Fujitsu
  • HP Labs
  • Huawei
  • MobileTag
  • Motorola
  • NEC
  • NeoMedia Technologies
  • Neustar
  • Nokia
  • Orange-FT
  • Qualcomm
  • Research In Motion
  • Samsung
  • Scanbuy
  • Sprint
  • Telecom Italia
  • Telefonica
  • Vodafone

About Open Mobile Naming Authority (OMNA) for the Barcode Registry
OMNA is the operational naming authority established by the WAP Forum (as WAP Interim Naming Authority – WINA) and inherited by OMA. The goal of OMNA is to foster interoperability and compatibility between implementations utilizing OMA technology through the registration and mediation of assigned names and numbers. OMNA is specifically concerned with names and numbers not already administered by other bodies (e.g., IANA).

About OMA
The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) delivers open specifications for creating interoperable services that work across all geographical boundaries, on any bearer network. To date, OMA has published more than 100 enabler releases with ongoing maintenance, revisions and new versions of its work. OMA’s specifications support the billions of new and existing fixed and mobile terminals across a variety of mobile networks. Driven by the global demand for mobile data services, the member companies of the Open Mobile Alliance support the adoption of new and enhanced information, communication and entertainment solutions. The Open Mobile Alliance includes contributors from all key elements of the wireless value chain, and contributes to the timely and efficient introduction of services and applications to the market.

The Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) name and OMA logo are registered trademarks of the Open Mobile Alliance Ltd. Other product and company names mentioned herein may be trademarks or trade names of their respective owners.

Contact Information


Leave a Reply