From the deliveries you receive to the products you sell in your shop, barcodes make your life as a retailer easier in many ways.
Barcodes eventually became omnipresent in the commercial environment during in the 1980’s.
Since then the style of barcodes has hardly changed at all: They still resemble a zebra pattern of stripes with numbers written underneath and need a scanner device to decode them.
Now this is all changing fast as the 2D barcode – a 2nd-generation of barcode technology – moves steadily into every aspect of your life.
We take a closer look below at how it all works…..
What is a 2D barcode?
You will have already seen black-and-white squares appearing on your product deliveries, letters, utility bills, product packaging, as well as in many other kinds of places – it looks a bit like a crossword puzzle layout.
These are two-dimensional (2D) barcodes and, just like standard barcodes, they’re machine readable facilitating the transfer of information about a product in a nanosecond.
Whereas a barcode presents a string of information as a one-dimensional line of black and white bars, a 2D barcode crams a lot more information into a box of black and white, square-shaped dots. You can try this out by scanning the code on the left of this paragraph.
What benefits are there to using a 2D barcode?
If we already have barcodes, why do we need another style? Well, 2D barcodes go a big step further, with many more advantages:
- More information: A barcode is just a group of black and white bars which holds a small amount of information. Generally all it holds is just a dozen digits or so, enough to relate it to a tin of beans at a grocery store checkout, but not much more. It’s not possible to add additional information to a standard barcode without making it longer. A 2D barcode is vastly different as being a square of information running in two directions it is able to effectively pack more information into the same space. A 2D barcode can contain up to about 2000 characters of information.
- Less errors: A standard barcode holds so little information that there is very little redundancy needed. Apart from the length of the bars (which are simply repeating the barcode information in a vertical direction), there is no duplication of information to guard against a code being misprinted or damaged (such as when a box gets torn in the store or a parcel label get smudged in the rain). The greater capacity of 2D barcodes allows them to hold the same information in different ways with advanced, integral fault checking systems. If a code gets damaged, it’s easier to detect – and more likely to be possible to read the code.
- Easy to read: 2D barcodes can be read by using the digital camera on the latest mobile phones, removing the need for special scanning equipment. Even though a 2D barcode contains more information than a standard barcode, they can be read precisely at much higher speeds.
- Easy to transmit: A 2D barcode can be sent as an SMS text messages from mobile phone to mobile phone allowing easy and convenient sharing of information.
- Secure: 2D barcodes can have the information they contain encrypted in order to protect it.
Different types of 2D barcodes
To a layman, 2D barcodes all look much the same. If you look closely at them though you’ll see they are very different.
There are several different types of 2D barcodes. The best known ones are the QR Code, Aztec code, MaxiCode, and SemaCode.
Where is 2D barcode technology used?
A 2D barcode can be put anywhere you can put a standard barcode and use it in very similar ways for tracking and tracing all kinds of objects.
More excitingly, new useful applications have been created for 2D barcodes. Without realising it you will have already noticed 2D barcodes being placed in the corner of adverts within your favourite magazines.
Simply point your mobile phone camera at these and your phone browser will automatically read the code, decode the Web address of the advertiser’s site, and, take you there instantly. It even works on billboards, posters, and other adverts you may see while you’re out and about.
Most airline, rail and bus companies now let you buy your tickets on-line in advance and store them on your mobile phone.
Your phone then displays the details on its screen as a 2D barcode code, which becomes your electronic ticket and, as is already happening with airlines, your boarding pass.
The use of this technology is moving forward so fast you can now expect to see more and more useful 2D barcode applications appearing throughout your personal and business life!
If you haven’t yet got 2D barcode scanning hardware installed within your retail store we would recommend that you don’t delay in order to avoid inefficiencies leading to lost sales opportunities. We all know that investment in new EPoS hardware and software is imperative for any retailer to stay ahead of their competitors.
There are many manufacturers of 2D barcode scanners. Honeywell is one of the most popular manufacturers with their hardware offering exceptional reading of the 2D barcodes, ensuring that your business is equipped to meet the data capture needs of today and tomorrow. Their many years of experience in manufacturing data collection scanners have allowed them to refine and customize each generation of devices with the retail industry needs in mind. Reliability of scanning is very important to ensure employee efficiency and customer satisfaction.
2D barcode scanners are designed with long-lasting batteries, advanced data collection and management software compatibility, industry-specific housings and many more specialized features..
Please don’t hesitate to talk with RMS today should you have any questions about training or anything else concerning your retail EPoS system which prevents you obtaining maximum sales, productivity and profitability.
You can Freephone RMS today on 0800 138 0050 or complete our on-line enquiry form to speak with one of our dedicated team. Either way, we look forward to helping you with the EPoS needs of your growing business.
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