Show Me Shomi

Publishing industry takes a page out of the future with Aussie startup Shomi.

Australian-based tech startup Shomi has potentially invigorated the future of the publishing industry with the release of their new scannable font-based code. It’s similar to a QR code in its capacity for mobile linking, but Shomi’s insight and design-led thinking has innovated the entire scanning process and with it, possibly the publishing industry too.

“The purpose was to simply link
print to digital content with
the use of a font-based code,”
says founder Tony Williams.

With function and form in mind, Shomi has created an iconic nine-character font code that when uniquely generated may be copied and pasted into any material or line of text, in any colour. This succinct alternative to QR codes is a godsend to designers used to the obtuse mobile linking graphics, and grants access to a new world of interactivity potential for publishers.

Mobile Linking Technology (MLT) was developed by the Japanese automotive industry in 1994 for tracking parts. However, the codes from this system (QR codes) contain far more data than required when used in a broader application, such as multimedia links from printed media. This lack of translation has led to graphic design challenges and low uptake of the technology. Shomi have now addressed this.

“We’re excited to see how it might
be used in different contexts, like
how we could integrate traditional
teaching with interactive learning,”
says Williams.

Alongside the streamlined code, the startup has produced an easy to use, standardised scanning application. Their in-text code and compatibility with augmented reality scanners such as Google Glass means Shomi offers a new world of interactive potential for printed and digital media.

The application features include a scan history and a social media component for sharing user scans across customers’ personal networks.

Standardising the scanning tool also provides innovation for marketing departments, with a clean user interface, scan-tracking analytics, pay-per-scan options and engagement insights for better placement of advertisements.

“Because only the Shomi software
can read the Shomi code,
we capture more data and
we can offer a safe and
consistent end-user experience,”
says Williams.

Indications suggest that Shomi’s concept is solid, with kudos coming in from the tech industry. Google Australia handpicked Shomi to participate in their startup program held in Sydney in 2014. Shomi are also finalists in Anthill magazine’s 2014 SMART 100, and clients such as Deloitte Digital are giving positive feedback.

Consumer uptake of MLT is now showing solid growth despite a slow start. According to Forrest Research, smartphone users that made use of a QR or 2D barcode in a given month was measured at only 1% in 2010, but by 2011 it had jumped to 5%, and by 2012 usage was up to 8%. In 2012, digital monitors ComScore reported a 96% increase in European QR code usage for the year, and a recent Adobe survey showed around a third of those surveyed had used the technology in the past three months.

Despite other mobile linking alternatives such as image recognition technology (IRT) and optical character recognition coming to market, there appears to be a space for simplicity. End users of IRT still need to be educated that an image is scannable, and the technology can be resource intensive for smartphones.

The Shomi app is free to download and use from the website, with basic analytics offered in the freemium version. The startup is looking for seed funding and is currently running a Publishing Partners Program, with special incentives for a limited number of selected publishers.ShomiHomePage

Talk to Tony Williams for more information.

Tony Williams, Founder and CEO,

0412 784 850

Use Shomi for free at