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May 10, 2007



Hi Tomi:

Great read as always, Thanks!

I'm confused about your QR code comment under Seventh C:

"And South Korea is where the 2D Barcodes (or QR codes, Quick Response) - those fuzzy squares that look like a fingerprint - were first introduced."

Was always under the impression that was Made in Japan..



Javier Marti

The QR barcode posters will be a great enhancement to small business and freelance commerce in general through guerrilla marketing.
Example: my ex girlfriend, a proffesional dancer, teaches salsa dancing in Madrid. To promote her services, she uses posters. However, many people forget what they saw on a poster as soon as they read it.
So with the phone as a tool, we'll see advances like the QR codes further activate sectors of the economy we didn't even think of.
Now that person can point, click, add a reminder, and attend the class. This woudln't have happened before, when it all relies on our memory.
Think what this means for other artistic events: DJs and rave parties, street teathre (popular in many countries)...small businesses that can't place a poster on a pillar of a street for legal reasons but can anounce their products in a busy UK newsagent's window will do so, and this time, will profit.
Result: more money will exchange hands. More people will attend more events. Powerful, yet almost invisible changes...


Tomi Ahonen

Hi Lars and Javier

Thanks for the comments

Lars, am not actually sure. The first time I saw 2D barcodes was in South Korea, not in Japan, and NTT DoCoMo launched them in Japan in 2004 I believe, after they had been launched in Korea? But it may well be that they were invented in Japan. I'll need to dig into that.

Javier, good point, excellent examples of where 2D barcodes can be used.

Thanks for stopping by and posting the comments!

Tomi :-)


Hi Tomi,
Excellent summary, especially tasty while being read on bright and shiny Nokia N 95 (context :). Being also 007 fan can’t help reflection how much of Bond’s toolkit phones have become. One piece is missing form me in article namely GPS/LBS & SatNav services. Can not find C – name for this. Context again?



Great piece again Tomi :-)

What about another C (the 8th) about Context? It just came to my mind so my thinking would need some time to mature, but the cellphone being so personal, so much with us, is a key element to understand our "context" and share/use it in an intelligent way.
By context, I mean many things here: this could be our location (GPS, cellID), our surroundings (noise, speed, "in the pocket", "charging", bluetooth neighbours, camera view...), our current activity (phone profile, phone usage, phone calendar, ...), any extra sensor linked to the phone.

What do you think about it?



Hi Tomi:

Indeed DoCoMo made the QR Code reader a standard pre-install for all models in the 505-series:

We have video of the 505 presser in spring 2003 here:

Pretty sure it was on a few select 504 models from 2002 but would have to check.

At any-rate once DoCoMo started pushing that in their marketing things really got rolling thanks in no small part to the penetration of camerphones and the fact that DensoWave gave away their claim to royalty fees to create and use the product.. 8-)

Here's more on the history here:
I know many people had already downloaded the free app. and there was already plenty of QR codes in newspaper/magazines back in 2001 when I 1st got here!



Cooli -- Context is another great C for the list.. 8-)

David Harper

Hi Tomi. I've been meaning to connect with you for a while. Please ping me at my email address. Cheers. David Harper, Founder,

Yoke Kong

Hi Tomi,

Great post! Just for your update, Globe Telecoms has now expanded their G-Cash m-commerce service to their citizens working overseas. This is now live in Hong Kong with CSL, and soon to be launched in Singapore and Malaysia.

Oh yeah, I agree too...Context is certainly another great C.

Cheers !


Hej Tomi

excellent article, yet you forget one C - probably the biggest C of them all ... and the one that a lot of operators start to forget while chasing the other Cs: COVERAGE.

"No coverage, no good" as the old saying goes, and I am afraid that in Europe at least coverage has gotten worse instead of better over the years. I remember a mobile operator in Austria in the late 90ies advertising their "hiss-free" network. Would doubt that this operator or any other would dare to run a campaign like this today. If the operators don't focus back on the most relevant service of them all, ie. providing ubiquitous connectivity I am afraid all your other Cs won't come to pass.

Interestingly enough, if you ask customers why they stick to one network and don't shift to the other the answer is almost always "Better coverage", also if you look at market shares the lions share most of the time goes to the operator with the best coverage. Maybe we should have a movement: Customer for coverage!

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi Krzysztof, Cooli, Lars, David, Yoke and no.Wires

Thanks for the comments

Krzystof - ha-ha, very good yes. As a die-hard 007 fan and as a gadget freak the Bond movie series has been a sheer delight in the fantastic inventions (except this Casino Royale, with no gadgets, and no Q ! and no villain's lair and no Moneypenny and no....). Its what I originally loved about the very first brick-sized Nokia Communicator - that it looked like a large mobile phone, but wow, like a James Bond gadget, it held a secret inside, a fully operational communication centre ha-ha.. There definitely always was an element of the Bond kit in my subsequent Communciators, and I love that kind of magic also to the N-93 with its twists and turns, morphing into various configurations...

The location need? Hmmm. Is this really a something we as humans have as a need or is it more of a function to make the other needs better served. I see GPS and actually all of the context parts as "enablers" and "features" which make our communication better, our consumption better, our creativity better. Much like a colour screen helps us rather than a monochrome screen. I definitely yes see a value out of GPS and location (it is the first of my Six M's in my mobile service creation theory after all) but would I put it as one of the seven (or eight) capabilities of the phone, no I wouldn't.

Its like roaming is for voice calls and messages. We really don't "need" roaming, we need to be connected. And the phone service which has roaming (early mobile phone services did not until the NMT standard came along from Scandinavia) is better at serving our communication need.

Its a bit of how you define it, I guess.

Cooli - the same with context as the above. I definitely see the benefit, not so much this or next year, but a few years down the line when it becomes a common element of advanced services. But again, it is not something we - people - inherently need. It is something that the technology - a mobile service - can use to serve our needs (to communicate, to consume, to create...) better. A bit like IP (internet protocol). We don't need IP. But in today's digital internet-oriented world, its rather silly to develop services which are "not IP based". Its an enabler, which helps make those services perform better for us.

What I mean is that we don't need context, but we can derive GREAT benefits, when context is enabled in our services like communciation, creation, commerce, etc..

Lars - great, thank you very much. As you know I lived in London, and my contacts with Japan were infrequent, usually once or twice per year - often meeting you in fact - and much of my Japan knowledge came from my European NTT DoCoMo friends and your wonderful Wireless Watch Japan website and some other good Japan sources in English.

David - thanks, we've now made contact off-line.

Yoke - Wow, that is VERY cool. Thanks ! I'm going to post about it at Forum Oxford, that's great news. About time too, ha-ha, we do need more international cross-operability in mobile commerce and mobile banking etc.

no.wires - good point about coverage being important. Its easy to forget if you only live in major cities and commute between the aiport and major hotels etc ha-ha. But seriously, this is another enabler. We don't need coverage. We need our communication, or our consumption (for our creativity we don't even need coverage ie our cameraphone to be able to capture the image, for that we need light ha-ha).

So yes, coverage is absolutely vital for a mobile service. But it is NOT a need we humans have, it is a functionality the network needs to enable our communcication, consumption, commerce, community interaction etc.

For all our readers - about GPS/presence/context/coverage:

There is a clear distinction in these, WHAT need is being served and HOW it is being served, in terms of an enabling technology. WHAT is the Communication, Consumption, Commerce, etc. HOW is coverage, context, GPS etc.

Consider Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. If we say shelter is a need. And its raining. You could say that therefore we need a roof. No, a roof is one way HOW to deliver shelter, but we can also dig a hole to go underground or have waterproof clothing or use an umbrella to get the equivalent shelter. That is the HOW.

I hope that helped clear it up.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


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