Motorola, Firms to Transform Bar Codes

Looking to make a different play in the wireless e-commerce arena, titan Motorola Inc. Thursday teamed with
smaller mobile technology firms to create a new company which aims to get new life out of the ordinary bar codes on a number of products.


Together with Symbol Technologies Inc.,
Connect Things Inc. an affiliate of LM Ericsson
AB and AirClic Inc., Motorola plans to invest $500
million in the startup.


Led by Symbol’s bar code scanning technology, the coalition
will create a registry of universal product codes for executing tasks to enable companies’
wireless phones, cable TV set-top terminals, and other Internet-enabled
appliances to access the Internet via one-scan bar codes.


They will be embedded on products, in publications including brochures
and company advertisements, and on television. By scanning a Web code with an enabled Internet device, people will be connected directly to Web
sites to order products, find
information, and manage everyday tasks and transactions.


Any information that gets scanned will be sent instantly to the new
company’s Web code registry, which interprets the nature of the inquiry and
delivers corresponding information to users. The information will include
product-ordering links, promotional offers, downloads for music, product
usage and service data, as well as cross references to other applicable
Internet sites.


Chris Galvin, Motorola’s chairman and chief executive officer, said
the venture would bring the company closer to pushing the envelope in the
future of wireless Web. Galvin also noted that it would put Motorola’s
wireless phones, cable set-top boxes and other devices to work.


Though each firm will bring unique technologies and capital to make the
venture work, Motorola will also bring intellectual property to the new
company’s Web code registry. Connect Things will contribute its database for
high-volume, direct bar code links to Web addresses, which are used in
Europe for connecting bar codes to specific pages within a particular Web
site. AirClic will bring its open platform operating model to the new
company.


“This transcending convergence of wireless and scanning technologies will
allow us to seamlessly link the physical world of ‘people on the move’ and
at work to the virtual world of the Internet, and creates infinite
possibilities for mainstream consumer applications,” said Tomo Razmilovic,
president and CEO-elect, Symbol Technologies.


Earlier this week, Motorola displayed its desire to advance wireless
technology by unveiling products based on an emerging short-range wireless
standard and signed development deals with IBM and Toshiba. The tools — an
internal PC card and an external universal serial bus device — are
based on the popular Bluetooth technology.

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