We use barcodes so much in our lives. Unfortunately we smaller businesses do not use them for our own business productivity, but only use them when we shop for something at a retailer.
Did you know, however, that bar codes are a powerful and simple tool to use for much more than when we shop.
Barcodes are excellent to use for fast data input. I was away for a few weeks at my church convention and we used barcodes throughout the convention. At a side event, where we usually did manual data entry, asking for a person’s name and other information, we just scanned the bar code on their name tag. The line went much faster than previous years.
One thing that you do want to know about barcode scanning technology is the types of barcodes there are. There are 1D and 2D barcodes. 1D barcodes hold a very small amount of information, just a string of numbers, which you can tie back to a database to retrieve more information. 1D might hold a persons ID number or a products unique ID number at a retail store.
However 2D barcodes (see an image here) can store much more information.
Wikipedia has a very robust article on barcodes here. At the end of this post you can view a video about barcodes as well.
Our friends at Wasp Barcode Technologies have released a new barcode scanner that can read 2D barcodes. What you’ll note in their press release is that the bar code itself is only one part of the power of barcode technology; the other part is the powerful applications that you can build on top of bar code technology.
Their press release reads:
The future of barcoding just got more flexible and affordable for small and mid-sized businesses, with today’s release of the WDI4500 2D barcode scanner from Wasp Barcode Technologies. At a list price of just $379, this future-proof, aggressive barcode scanner can handle a wide range of both 1D and 2D barcodes, while also unlocking a multitude of powerful, data-driven applications for healthcare, manufacturing, retail, shipping, military and more.
“When companies discover the power and flexibility of 2D barcode technology, they immediately see the possibilities,” said Tom O’Shea, general manager of Wasp Barcode Technologies. “In the past, however, 2D barcode scanners were either too expensive or too slow for most small businesses. We’ve solved these problems with the WDI4500, which offers the same speed and accuracy the market has become accustomed to in 1D laser barcode scanners you might find in a grocery store.”
Most business owners are familiar with standard 1D (“one-dimensional” or “linear”) barcodes found on a wide range of retail products. In 1D barcodes, all data is encoded in a series of vertical black and white bars and spaces. In contrast, 2D barcodes have data encoded both vertically and horizontally, allowing for significantly more information to be stored in a smaller size. These barcodes appear as black-and-white boxes that can fit on packages, paper, tags or even electronic devices such as smart phones, making them ideal for:
- healthcare, where extensive information needs to be stored on small vials, wristbands and medication bottles
- shipping, military or manufacturing applications, where detailed information needs to be stored about a particular part
- drivers’ licenses, as well as other government or healthcare applications, where multiple fields of information can be filled in a form with one scan
- applications such as tagging small parts or assets where space is limited, yet a barcode is still required