Are bar codes spent? Has the industry run its course? Every so often I am describing the bar code industry to someone, and add the fact that we publish a magazine specifically for this market, and they are amazed to find out that it involves tens of billions of dollars a year. The average individual doesn't realize just how pervasive bar codes are. I was in such a discussion today and was trying to give examples of how bar codes figure prominently in certain markets and I used the example of the healthcare industry - pointing out how bar codes are used to label blood samples and patients. How bar codes are used to track the administration of medication and just how beneficial the technology can be. But the point that these are subtle, middleware type uses always seems to come back to me. Bar codes are so ubiquitous in our society that they are not visible, unless you happen to be looking for them. Based on the number of new applications that we keep reporting on here at Barcode.com, the industry is expanding, but its the type of expansion that quietly adds value to the application and, fortunately or unfortunately, is rarely noticed by the people it benefits.