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First used to label train cars, barcodes (and barcode technology) have made great strides in the last few decades. Today, barcodes are completely integrated into mainstream life—nearly every product in a grocery, department or mass merchandise store bears a UPC barcode. It’s clear that this technology works, and will continue to do so.

Cliff Anderson, Product Marketing Manager here at Wasp, and the marketing team work tirelessly to predict the trends in barcode technology, and create the solutions needed to sustain them. Anderson recently shared his outlook on the future of barcode technology, and how the Wasp team is preparing for it.

 

The Trends

Barcode Technology and Healthcare

With an aging population, it’s more important than ever for medical facilities to perform swiftly and accurately. As the number of hospital patients grows, so does the opportunity for spread of disease and risk of patient tracking or medical record errors.

To combat this, medical facilities are (in Anderson’s words), “increasing their adoption of medication, equipment, and patient tracking solutions.” Medical professionals not only need better tracking solutions, but they want disinfectant-ready hardware to lessen the spread of disease.

Barcode Technology and Consumer Habits

Mobility drives many aspects of our lives today. Retailers have noticed, and are leveraging that driver to increase sales. During peak shopping seasons, consumers see QR codes offering them deals and coupons. Super-savvy shoppers seek ways to make price comparisons while in-store.

Since these consumers have mobile devices—like tablets and smartphones—already in their hands, it makes sense to incorporate barcode technology into those devices. Consumers want price comparisons, deals and coupons at their fingertips, and barcode technology and hardware is the solution to that—both for the retailer and the consumer.

Barcode Technology and Manufacturing

Things move fast today—and manufactures have to keep up. As Anderson put it, “the more mobile and untethered a manufacturer’s warehouse or sales force can become, the more efficient they can be.”

 

In light of that, manufacturers want to adopt real-time inventory management solutions that are not only easy to use, but also wireless. Mobile solutions will allow manufactures to work faster and more efficiently, thus staying ahead of their competition. And we all know that staying ahead of the competition is one of the keys to success.

 

The Solutions 

Providers of barcode technologies and solutions anticipate these trends and design solutions. At Wasp, we’ve developed solutions for each of these segments.

For healthcare, we introduced a completely wireless, disinfectant-ready 2D barcode scanner. The scanner can be taken from room to room without the risk of spreading disease from patient to patient. In addition to that,we created a wristband printer and minimal footprint printer for patient tracking and small bottle labels, respectively. This allows for accurate and safe patient-tracking and record-keeping.

To answer consumer demands, Wasp introduced an affordable 1D barcode scanner that easily synchronizes with PCs, android® and iOS® devices—making it easy for retailers to give consumers what they want. And if it’s 2D they want, Wasp provides that, too. Our solutions make it easy for retailers to share scannable coupons and deals with their consumers, and for consumers to cash in on them.

 

We’ve updated our mobile computer offering for manufacturers, by announcing a wireless, rugged and industrialized mobile computer. In addition, we integrated RF wireless functionality into our Professional and Enterprise inventory control solutions. These solutions will permit manufactures to worry less about inventory tracking and focus on their bottom line.

 

Bar Code Standard

Uses

Uniform Product Code (UPC)

Retail stores for sales checkout; inventory, etc.

Code 39
(Code 3 of 9)

Identification, inventory, and tracking shipments

POSTNET

Encoding zip codes on U.S. mail

European Article Number (EAN)

A superset of the UPC that allows extra digits for country identification

Japanese Article Number (JAN)

Similar to the EAN, used in Japan

Bookland

Based on ISBN numbers and used on book covers

ISSN bar code

Based on ISSN numbers, used on periodicals outside the U.S.

Code 128

Used in preference to Code 39 because it is more compact

Interleaved 2 of 5

Used in the shipping and warehouse industries

Codabar

Used by Federal Express, in libraries, and blood banks

MICR (Magnetic Ink Character Recognition)

A special font used for the numbers on the bottom of bank checks

OCR-A

The optical character recognition format used on book covers for the human readable version of the ISBN number

OCR-B

Used for the human readable version of the UPC, EAN, JAN, Bookland, and ISSN bar codes and for optional human-readable digits with Code 39 and Interleaved 2 of 5 symbols

Maxicode

Used by the United Parcel Service

PDF417

A new 2-D type of bar code that can encode up to 1108 bytes of information; can become a compressed, portable data file (which is what the "PDF" stands for)

 

 

 

 

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