As our Product Marketing Manger, Cliff Anderson, discussed a few weeks ago, the future of barcode technology is bright and exciting. Barcodes now allow hospitals cleaner, more efficient patient tracking solutions, and give manufacturers real-time inventory management solutions to simplify their business processes.
Consumers, too, benefit from advancing barcode technology, via 2D barcodes (such as QR codes). We asked Cliff a few questions about this technology, and how he sees it progressing.
In your eyes, what is the most exciting barcode technology advancement you see on the horizon?
Cliff: Probably the biggest breakthrough in barcode technology has been the invention of 2D barcodes coupled with camera-based 2D image readers. This enables a customer to be captured by something as simple as a sales brochure with a QR code on it, which can direct them to any information desired to help support their purchasing decision. Then they can be directed to an online shopping cart to make a credit card purchase—and potentially even receive a barcode to be redeemed at a local warehouse distribution center for collection of the purchased item(s). All of this can be accomplished with a typical cell phone and a sales brochure with a 2D barcode.
How are these 2D barcodes different from traditional barcodes?
Cliff: 2D barcodes can hold much more data than 1D barcodes in the same—or less—physical space. So manufacturers can put thousands of characters in a single 2D barcode. Also, unlike 1D barcode scanners, 2D barcode scanners use an image sensor to capture the image of the barcode, so a 2D scanner can read barcodes regardless of the barcode’s position.
Since 2D barcode scanners have only one moving part (the trigger switch), their reliability is a big advantage. Rarely will there be a field failure and no failures means no down time for employees, reduced frustration, and lower total cost of ownership.
So, what about QR codes—are they here to stay?
Cliff: QR codes will be around for years to come. Because camera phones can easily read them, QR codes are becoming ubiquitous for communicating information. QR codes can store huge amounts of data that can be viewed anywhere, anytime. Some advantages of QR codes include:
- Visit websites remotely
- Increase social media traffic and brand awareness
- Generate website traffic from QR codes on business cards
- View detailed text information and associated images for prospective customers
- Send emails and messages
- Dial telephone numbers
- Detail bill of materials or detail ingredients to customers
- Create QR coded tickets to allow for event entry or vessel boarding
As always, we’ll be monitoring and planning for the changes in barcode technology, and producing solutions based on them. We want to give you the tools to embrace these ever-changing barcode technologies—so your business can stay in front of the competition.
Does your small business incorporate barcode technology into your business processes?