As we know, there is a huge amount of growth in the mobile market. One of the biggest questions is how do you create products that are effective for mobile? I just wrote about a taxi service available through a calling short code.
I think that feature uses the calling capacity of mobile nicely, but it doesn’t really take advantage of the fact that your mobile phone is a camera, a video and audio recorder and a messaging service.
Some mobile companies have been using QR codes to do mobile marketing. However, it is a concept that most people find hard to understand. A company called SnapTell is using the combination of image recognition, mobile photography and text messaging to create campaigns.
I discovered this technology by reading ESPN magazine. They devoted a two page spread to the new technology and enlisted partners such as Target, Progressive, Sony, Toyota and Champs Sports to do an inaugural campaign.
From the edition with this promotion, I took a picture of a Target ad (see photo at top) and text it to the designated number. There is also an email address for the mobile challenged.
Low and behold, I got a few confirmation texts, then I got the free ring tone from the Misnomber(s) that was touted in the ad – all within a minute or two.
So what is going here? SnapTell’s has created a highly accurate and robust algorithm for image matching – they call it ASG. The concept behind image matching is to take a photo and send to it SnapTell. They will ‘efficiently’ and accurately match it against a database of images. The company claims they use patent pending indexing techniques to organize a large, scalable database of images for the purpose of efficient lookup.
Even better than the idea of image recognition instead of QR codes is that it expands the technology to several media. The technology works in a wide variety of contexts including magazine print ads, outdoor billboards, posters, product packaging, etc. The flexibility of multiple delivery mechanisms make the impact of this technology advance important because instead of needing to be up close to snap a clean picture of a box of dot, you just need to get the picture int he frame.
The campaign is relatively cool – it is definitely targeted to a younger audience in ESPN magazine). I think the real challenge will be how to make this technology work for larger, less sexy organizations. However, I think the diversity of delivery methods might allow for that growth.