Wednesday, February 01, 2006

ABI Research:The Camera Phone as Scanner

According to a new report from ABI Research, mobile imaging will evolve from just camera phones to reading, "receiving and displaying coded information from the objects in front of its lens." Kenneth Hyers at ABI Research said, "It means using the camera phone not as a picture-taker, but as a scanner capturing metadata about products or services related to objects around us. I think we'll see more of this in coming years."

ABI writes that the "data can be visible, as in the case of barcodes or the "QR" codes popular in Japan; or unseen, as in "steganography" which in its current form, announced by Fujitsu in mid-2005, involves hiding information in printed pictures, invisible to the human eye but extractable by Fujitsu's algorithms in a camera phone."

Hyers continued, "Imagine walking through the park, and aiming your camera phone at a data tag on a statue. It directs your phone's browser to a web page about a historic building that used to stand there, or a concert that played there last summer, complete with video clips."

ABI outlines some companies developing technology to move things in this direction. Hyers concluded, "But these applications are all proprietary. A real market for this requires some standardization, and for marketers, operators, and handset vendors to be ‘on the same page'."