This news reached my desk via a Google keyword News Alert: 7 Sep 2008: GS1 has launched a position paper to give manufacturers, retailers and other existing users of the GS1 system guidance on what barcodes they should consider for mobile phone applications.
The news release announcing this position paper actually came out last month out of Brussels. You might say the real news here is that this position paper wasn’t issued 24 to 36 months ago.
Alternatively, go to this link to read the news release.
I think as an overall observation, with all due respect to the realities of trying to drive an important international standards initiative, doesn’t this seem way late in the game? In the news release here’s what they say is the point of this position paper: The aim is to prevent fragmentation in the current market for reading barcodes with cameraphones.
I think it is too late to prevent that. I think the position paper’s aim is to keep it from getting worse. Had this position paper been released three years ago, the fragmentation might have been avoided or at least reduced.
The global importance of GS1 compliance across all applications is such that right now in my opinion significantly more velocity is needed across the board.
[Editor's note: We have debated this post at length before deciding to proceed with it. For example, the "data matrix" vs "qr-code" debate is largely resolved in many places in the world, regardless of GS1's official position. GS1 Japan has adopted qr-code for example as de facto. Many US manufacturers who chose datamatrix as their 2D standard have discovered they still have a customer or distributor requirment for qr-code in Asian countries, etc.
This blog post points to a larger concern I have.
The fact is, I am unsure GS1 headquarters has fully absorbed the world's increasingly urgent need for timely, robust, promotional and clear marketing and the need for immediate communication and agile, responsive turnaround of information. The general AHRMM08 poll results -- demonstrating very few people in the US healthcare purchasing system have even heard of GS1 -- paints a clear picture of the need for more promotion and more information.
Finally, I think GS1 is starting to hear the need and is stepping up some: the newsletter they sent out recently was greeted with applause by the group here. It's not enough but it is a much-needed start!]