The use of barcode technology has proven itself for decades and continues to see adoption growth. It’s proven beneficial for:
* Conducting and managing data entry
* Asset, inventory, and information tracking
* Improving operational efficiency
* Reducing human and data errors
More and more applications and systems managers seek to use barcodes. However, once you head into choosing a barcode, you might be surprised to uncover how many barcode types exist on the market.
Also, while barcodes are widely used for their speed and efficiency, there are many potential technical obstacles and issues that can arise to create bottlenecks and inefficiencies. If you can cover critical basics when implementing barcodes technology, you’ll set yourself on a desirable path to benefit from them.
I. The Basics of Barcode Reader Technology and Development
How Barcode Scanners Work
Understanding the technology behind a barcode scanner can be complex. So, let’s simplify it.
The barcode reader software scans the entire width of a barcode image to identify a barcode. Once it scans a barcode, it decodes it and presents the encoded information. Also, considering the wide use of mobile devices nowadays, a camera is also used to capture the barcode image for processing and decoding its value.
There are mainly two types of barcodes:
1D barcodes consist of vertical black lines against an all-white background. The lines are of varying widths with specific gaps resulting in a particular pattern.
2D barcodes consist of square or rectangular patterns of two dimensions. Again, the patterns are usually black against an all-white background.
Generally, 2D barcodes store more data and support a bigger character set than 1D barcodes.
Where Barcodes are Used
Barcodes are used in countless applications across a myriad of scenarios from accounting/finance, government, healthcare, industrial, inventory, retail, transportation, and so on. Here are a few quick real-world examples.
A large worldwide non-profit wanted a barcode scanning tool to use in accounting to increase productivity by automating certain tasks. To this end, they wanted to be able to start the tool, use it to read data off a barcode, and automatically rename associated PDF files the same as the barcode number. Initial research started with how to build the tool internally. The team quickly realized creating a barcode scanning application from scratch would be immensely time, resource and cost consuming. Today, the barcode addition is used to speed processing of invoices and related payments.
Barcodes are widely used in healthcare for dispensing medication and authenticating for security, specimen samples and more.
Barcodes can also be used to track devices given to a patient. This can work both ways. You can track a device to each patient it was given to and you can track who administered it. For the administrator, this can include a doctor, nurse or other staff. For tracking where the device came from, this can include suppliers or manufacturers. These trails in an EHR are all helpful in administering patient care or for managing device vendors and their transactions with you.
Some stores have evolved their barcode use by also building and integrating self-checkout apps. In these scenarios, customers can make purchases using their mobile phones while they are in a store. They can simply scan barcodes for product information and to make a purchase. Product information can be as rich as desired, to include information such as a description, unit price, place of origin, and more.
This scan setup is commonly accomplished by using a barcode software development kit (SDK) to enable barcode scanning via smartphones. By allowing customers to self-add products to a virtual shopping cart while shopping in an aisle, retailers can eliminate making customers stand in line with their products at a physical checkout.
For retailers, this can also enable rich data capture for more targeted marketing. Customer shopping behaviors can be used to better optimize experiences. This can include product-based experiences, such as offering discounts for future purchases on previously purchased products. It can also include time-based marketing, such as targeting email newsletters or offers during a time a customer is more likely to visit a store.
There is a lot to consider when attempting to select an appropriate barcode to use... (click here to download the full PDF )
About the Dynamsoft Barcode Reader
Dynamsoft's Barcode Reader SDK enables you to efficiently embed barcode reading functionality in your web, desktop or mobile application using just a few lines of code. This can save you months of added development time and extra costs. With our SDK, you can create high-speed and reliable barcode scanner software to meet your business needs.
Try it for free by downloading the SDK here.