At the beginning of the year, The Bar Code News talked with several industry leaders, asking them to offer their predictions for the bar code industry in 2012. You can read that article here.
With the year now more than half gone, we again consulted our panel of experts to find out how they see the rest of the year shaping up. From thermal bar code printers and 2D imaging bar code readers to QR codes, there are plenty of changes happening. Here's what they had to say.
How has the first half of 2012 lived up to your expectations in terms of consumer and business behavior in the bar code industry?
“The first half of 2012 demonstrated continued growth in 2D imaging bar code readers and the ongoing transition from 1D bar code readers to 2D bar code readers in the enterprise and consumer markets," said Mike Poldino, Vice President, Data Capture Solutions, Motorola Solutions. "This (growth) is driven by applications such as 1:1 targeted marketing to consumers on mobile devices as well as traditional track and trace use cases. (We anticipate) these trends will continue through 2012 and beyond as additional imaging applications emerge to improve productivity of enterprise associates as well as the user experience of their customers.”
Any surprises so far?
One of the biggest surprises for us has been the interest in the new thermal transfer printers from Source Technologies," said Dana Ritchie, CEO of PaladinID. "We have customers who need to replace laser printers and who are looking for printers that connect directly with Oracle and SAP using the standard printing language of PCL5E. While all other bar code printers use a proprietary language, the Source Technologies printers use PCL5E. They are a great solution and are truly plug-n-play."
Any new products or services that have risen to the forefront?
"I am seeing more brands customize their QR codes by adding branding elements to the actual symbology – whether color, placement of a logo or dressing up completely (e.g. with bunny ears)," said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies. "Branding the QR codes can help to build brand affinity and help the consumer recognize and realize the brand they are about to interact with."
"I also think the debate about what comes next is interesting," said Marriott. "I am often asked if augmented reality will take the place of QR codes. I think that the two can work in tandem to help drive a fabulous experience for the consumer and do not need to be mutually exclusive. For example, Brancott estate winery in New Zealand uses QR codes on their bottles, to activate an augmented reality experience. Thinking about how technologies can complement each other has certainly become more of the norm and we encourage companies to seek the solution which bests works for them and their strategy, rather than be awed by cool technology."
What do you see changing or staying the same in the second half of 2012 in terms of sales activity or product development?
"2D imaging supports enhanced traceability and security, and goes beyond traditional bar code applications," said Cedric Mollon, of Intermec. "We expect to see a steady rise in new applications that bring additional value add and (greater) productivity for our customers."
"I see more creativity and innovation coming in (the latter half of 2012)," said Marriott of NeoMedia Technologies. "The most successful (QR) campaigns we do are those that offer some form of exclusive content/connection. Whether this comes in the way of coupons, content, contests, these are the campaigns that are having the highest success rates in our customer base – and I believe we will continue to see more of these solutions going forward."
As you can see, there's plenty going on. Stay in the know by subscribing to The Bar Code News.