Mobeam Inc. has formed a partnership with an Austrian micro sensor company to create a bar-code format that any point of sale scanner can read for smartphone-based payments or coupon redemption.

The partnership between San Francisco-based Mobeam and Ams, formerly known as Austriamicrosystems, takes aim at paper coupons and the process of waiting months for reimbursement, the companies stated this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

The integrated bar-code format will include Mobeam's light-based beaming technology and Ams' light sensors.

Handset manufacturers will have the option to include the bar-code technology that will support any mobile commerce application that uses bar codes for coupon redemption, loyalty cards, gift cards and tickets, the companies say.

Mobeam estimates that 350 billion paper coupons are issued each year in the U.S., with a value of more than $470 billion.

The vast majority of in-store laser scanners cannot normally scan bar codes displayed on mobile phones, the companies say.

"Our customers look to us to help them create value and differentiation in their products and markets they serve, and we believe this relationship with Mobeam does just that," Ams CEO John Heugle states in a press release.

Ams is currently testing the technology on handsets and the companies plan full production for the third quarter of 2013.

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