Motivation : An international media and publishing house that services the needs of the advertisement industry worldwide and underwrites large amounts of print advertising, desired to add an element of interactivity to advertising and an added communication channel to their publications.
Solution : Design a system that allows consumers to have easy and direct access to detailed information on products and services advertised in print and on the labels of common consumer products. Advertisements, articles, and products are identified by means of unique codes or tags which are then associated with the consumers account on a dedicated website for this service. This links the consumer to a central repository of information and a host of value added services such as FAQs, product reviews, online purchasing, offers and support.
Implementation : The service comprised of two portals- a B2C portal accessed by consumers and a B2B portal accessed by companies involved in the print media business. These companies prepare the content, assign the product tags to link the content, and offer various value added services to their customers using Quickandmore. Consumers access the service through the web or through devices such as mobile phones, landlines and internet. Using mobile phones they can upload these codes/tags and get a short response on their handy, in addition to having further details on the tagged item in their B2C portal account. Transaction (e-commerce) is also built into the system.
After going through the information, if the consumer desires to purchase the product, he or she can conveniently do so. The system handled a number of add-on services that could be offered by advertisement companies including Contests, Coupons, Polling and Micro Payments. The first phase of the service was launched in December 2001. The project involved development of a large portal, USSD protocol implementation, and a number of interfaces.
A team of 8 to 10 people worked on this for over a year.
Takeaways : A number of enhanced functionalities and services were designed and offered in the subsequent versions. These had extended support for mobiles and other productivity devices such as PDAs. The project yielded several important takeaways: A basic query from the client was converted into a complete solution. The application was developed from scratch. It involved a lot of research and attempts on the concept and technology sides.
The project involved extensive interactions with the largest telco in Switzerland with some parts of the application being hosted on their servers. Due to stringent statutory privacy requirements, strong encryption was required to be built into the application. Apart from fulfilling its basic goal of adding interactivity to print, the system also generated significant messaging revenues for the Telco (SMS and USSD). Mega events like World Cup Soccer and Miss Switzerland requiring large number of message transfers at a time have used the system successfully.