Monthly Archives: August 2012

Something Fishy Going on in Norway: New Barcode Standard Appears

There are a steady stream of news stories talking about what is next in the world of barcodes, RFID and NFC dominate headlines. However around the world it appears industry is sticking with the mantra of if it isn’t broke then don’t fix it. While QR Codes are heralded as a break through 1D barcodes are still clearly in the driving seat. They are cheap, simple and when linked to a database even a small barcode can provide more than enough information.

It is no surprise then that Norway have just launched a new barcode standard for fish boxes and pallets. Fishing is a huge industry in the Nordic country and has had to become highly regulated to ensure high standards. Barcodes can do this with ease and the investment in a new standard shows that they are far from on their way out. The reason for the change was to bring together several different systems and to established a single standard to which all could conform. Luckily in the world of barcodes such changes are not too expensive, simply means a change to the software and changing which barcodes you print; hardware can remain the same.

So don’t believe the hype, 2D barcodes and Near Field Communication may be all over the news but 1D barcodes offer the reliability and ease of use required by huge industry and will be with us for decades to come.

Do you agree 1D barcodes are far from obsolete?

Jack

For more information on barcode reading visit out website.

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Mobile Giants Battle over Barcode Patents

We have all heard recently of the patent battles raging between Samsung and Apple; Samsung now have to pay huge sums of money to Apple. This is nothing new and seems to have become a rather ugly side to the world of business where legal departments do battle. Aside from the fact that a patent should be an ‘unintuitive’ step, which most of their patents for ’rounded edges’ are not, it means that the consumer loses out. Less choice and higher prices seem to be the inevitable outcome.

However the patents that companies are battling over does show clues as to the future of mobiles technology. With this in mind I have been very interested to see in the news patents for mobile barcode technology being awarded to the large mobile companies. They appear to be mainly related to capabilities for enhanced shopping experiences where you can scan a barcode to add something to your shopping list. This is not a new concept with Tesco including it within their mobile shopping app quite a while a go. This point aside, though, it is clear that the expansion of barcode enabled mobile shopping is going to arrive.

If you want to get ahead of the game with mobile barcode technology then check out our website.

Where do you see mobile barcode technology going?

Jack

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QR Code Use on the Rise

The use of QR Codes has in recent years started to get a bad press in some quarters, their gratuitous use of annoyance to many. This has led to many predicting their speedy demise to be replaced by NFC which can offer more information. However is appears that for all the negativity the use of QR Codes in the USA has increased 40% year on year (taken from BBC website).

This will come of little surprise to those who have used QR Codes since unlike NFC there is little (almost no) cost in implementation. The only cost is in the printing of the QR Code and all the complicated information which you may wish to convey is simply held on a website. Especially at a time when companies do not have the money to invest heavily but still need to innovate the choice of QR Codes seems obvious.

It should also be seen as a consumer driven trend. Although every phone you now see advertised comes under the ‘smart phone’ category there are still many new people changing to smartphones each year; the market is not yet at its full size. Therefore as more people invest in smartphones the effectiveness of QR Codes can only increase. So if companies follow the basic rules or using short web addresses to keep the barcode simple and ensure that the user is offered something for their effort then QR Codes will continue to flourish.

Want to read QR Codes on your android? Check out our FREE application in the Google Play store. Alternatively if you want to learn about integrating barcode reading into your software then visit our website.

Jack

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Virtual Grocery Store Lands in the UK – Tesco joins the party

I have written blogs about entirely virtual grocery stores in the past, but these have always been stories of countries like South Korea or Japan who we associate as being very comfortable with such lavish technology use. However it has now arrived in the UK, or more precisely Gatwick airport, and its not just some new upstart company but Tesco who have introduced it. The idea is that you can scan all the products you want and they will be delivered for you on the day you return from holiday. This obviously is a solution to the annoying problem of going away on holiday for a fortnight, throwing out all your perishables, and returning home to no food in the fridge.

The fact that this should come from a large company such as Tesco is important, many people will already have accounts with Tesco; using their existing online delivery service. Secondly there is the trust issue, people are often wary of new innovations like this but the name Tesco will surely go a long way to allaying these fears. Also for something like this to be effective, and economical, it needs a large infrastructure, which again shows why this is Tesco who are undertaking the project rather than a small company; this is not a new idea, but it needs the correct situation to prosper.

However this is obviously a bit of a gimmick at this stage, the additional planning required to cope with this is surely going to cost more than this potential market. It could though just be a test, something which is going to be rolled out around the country. Supermarkets have been trying to get more convenient than the out of town retail park which once seemed to be the norm, see all the small ‘express’ versions popping up around town centres. These though will be costing a lot, property in town centres are not cheap. Therefore to simply shove up some barcodes the savings will be incredible.

I don’t think supermarkets and shops are about to all disappear to be replaced by barcodes but with such a big company emerging in the game it seems likely this will become a more common form of shopping.

Want to see what barcode reading software can do for you? Check out our website.

Jack

p.s. For more details on this story see the BBC.

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London Olympics – Reflections on the Games and Future Legacy

So the London Olympics have come to an end, and sadly I have been beaten. No, I was not competing, and neither did I get fed up of it, quite the opposite. As I settled in to watch the opening ceremony the cynic within was ready to start lampooning the cheap efforts to replicate Beijing’s extravagance. However I found myself enjoying a great evening of entertainment (almost patriotic!) and have not looked back for the past sixteen days. If I’m not at work or out on my bike then I’ve been firmly parked infront of the box shouting and screaming in support of the South Korean Handball team or a Grenadian sprinter. As a company we all sadly missed out on tickets to the games, such was the demand, but we did make it to some of the free stuff. The ‘training team’ we sponsor were there to cheer on Team GB in the men’s road race, although that particular event didn’t go to plan the dominance of GB on two wheels has been a highlight of the Olympics for us (especially after Wiggo’s win at the Tour). 

This last week I have been working in Edinburgh where another of Britain’s great events is held, the Fringe Comedy Festival. I had read many articles talking of the Olympics damaging the festival but there was no sign of that, the city was as packed as ever during the festival month. The city centre a constant crowd of different nationalities and people flyering. The BBC had erected 2 huge screens in the centre where you could enjoy a drink and watch the sport alongside a huge enthusiastic crowd. Even better, the sun was out, in Scotland! A great evening was spent with a Gin and Tonic watching the 200m final with the Jamaican clean sweep. There was also time to get out into the hills with some of the Softek Software training team, and the hills around Edinburgh do not disappoint!

So as a business based near London, but experiencing the Olympics across the UK, all I can say is it has been brilliant. Too often the UK seems in the news for negative reasons and as a company dealing internationally it can knock the image and consequently sales. However in the wake of this event British business should have a new confidence in the world market. Maybe we no longer have the overwhelming muscle now enjoyed by China, and reflected in their Olympics, but we can deliver a good job which most importantly will last the test of time. It astonished me that London 2012 is the first games to have an emphasis on legacy, no throw away lavish celebrations but an attempt to ‘inspire a generation’. This is a great image to share with the world and to associate with Britain, quality which will last for centuries not just a quick short term success.

I will end this post before I get too misty eyed, after all the world goes on and we have the Vuelta Espana to get excited about next. What was your lasting impression of the games? Is this a fair reflection or is it seen differently from around the world? For more reflection check out this report card from Yahoo USA.

Jack

 

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Corporate Responsibility and Compliance

Compliance is big business these days, ensuring that your business is showing the appropriate level of responsibility is key to safeguarding the companies future. However this is easier said than done. Tracking where your products are going and who is using them is possible though, and has many more applications than simply compliance; it also lets you target marketing and resources more effectively.

Barcodes are ideal for such a task. Their implementation is incredibly cheap and straight forward. This has led the home ministry in India to seek detonators, which are largely produced in the private sector, to be barcoded so they can be traced. With political extremism and terrorism a big issue they want to be able to trace where detonators have come from.

But don’t think that just becuase you don’t work in a sector involved with terrorism or high level explosives that this is not relevant to you. If you want to ensure that your products are being sold by the people you choose to represent your corporate image it is worth making sure you can trace your goods.

For more information on barcode reading applications of Software Development Kits check out our website.

Jack

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Sun, Sea, Sand and…. QR Codes?

The BBC’s technology show, ‘Click‘,has an interesting video demonstrating the use of QR Codes on a beach in sunny Santa Monica. Now at first this appears to be another gratuitous use of the easily generated barcode, slapped on a bin in order to generate some publicity. The details though prove it is much more, and something which may be worth adopting elsewhere.

The QR Codes are on the side of the bin, and it must be said do nothing to change the functionality of the bin. However the QR Codes being placed around the beach lead people to an online space where weather forecasts, tidal information and water quality rating can be accessed. Alongside this photos can be shared between those using the beach. This use of QR Codes to try and tie together the users of a communal space into a community is genius, it is the sense of community which will lead to greater pride being taken in the space and greater use of the good old trusty bin.

So, no, it is not a revolution for bins; but it does offer a real chance to change how people interact with the spaces they share.

For more information on QR Codes see the bardecode knowledge base.

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