Monthly Archives: November 2012

Getting the Best Price with Barcodes

Today news has broken in Britain that across the NHS different hospitals are paying vastly different amounts for the same products. In some areas a box of blankets is costing £48, whereas in other areas the same box is costing the NHS in excess of £100. With cutting costs the key political issue of the moment this is a difficult position to be in, clearly the taxpayer is not getting value for money here. On the up side it shows that in some areas the NHS are driving for a good price, but there must be a solution to ensure that the entire organisation can share in such success and make the most of volume discounts.

The solution that the Department of Health says it is developing is a system of barcoding to help hospitals negotiate a better price. This is akin to the way supermarkets operate, scanning the barcode of products which are out of stock and automatically sending information back to a central location. This seems all very well for large organisations like the NHS or supermarkets, but this is applicable to most businesses. Barcode reading is cheap and very scalable. Furthermore with the advent of smartphone barcode reading there is little in way of hardware or training costs.

If you are interested in integrating barcode reading into your company’s app then check out our website.

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Barcodes: Pillars of Art

The challenge of public art is often in conveying complicated messages and views through very simple mediums. A statue or mural are the popular forms chosen, however these certainly have their limitations. Conceptional artists Claudia Reisenberger and Franka Diehnelt, of California, have utilised barcodes to show over 200 hundred years of history at the the Spokane Street Viaduct Widening  Project Site (basically a building site).

barcode reader art

Barcodes in Art

Each pillar of the viaduct has been transformed into a red and white barcode which contains some historical information. I’m not sure how practical these barcodes will be to read but it is certainly a striking look.

If you want to investigate barcode reading as part of your mobile application then check out our website.

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Mason City: New Barcode Pathology System

There are many industries where failure and mistakes are simply not an option. While care for the living is an obvious one it is also the case in post-mortem care; no family will tolerate a mistake when it comes to the care of a loved one. Therefore it is no surprise that the Mercy medical Centre in North Iowa have turned to barcodes in order to ensure that the correct information is stored for the correct bodies. The new system also allows staff to track progress whether it is at another facility or in storage. The ease with which barcodes can attach the physical with the digital is something that makes it so versatile.

So how does this apply to business in general? The lesson is that no business should be accepting mistakes due to inadequate systems. Although it may not lead to such an awkward situation as dealing with the body of a loved one, when the solution is as simple and cost effective as barcode reading software it is simple. Whether it is used to improve efficiency or simply act as a double check for human error it is clear that many organisations could benefit from its inclusion. If you look at any of the most complicated industries barcodes are at the heart of them; retail, logistics and now health.

If you want to see how barcode reading can help your company check out our website for our ready-to-use barcode filing  application and software development kit.

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Barcode Tattoos: worse than you imagined?

When people hear I work with barcodes it is not uncommon to then be told about someone they know with a barcode tattoo. Popular as an ironic anti-establishment statement along the lines of… ‘I’m not just a number, but to prove it, here is a tattoo which reduces me to such’. You may be able to gather that I don’t really understand it, but each to their own. However, from looking at barcodes printed by computers which are often of poor quality and produce an unreliable read I have started wondering how this works in the unreliable world of body art. Ink does not simply go where you put it but soaks in and smudges slightly, especially if you chose the cheapest tattoo artist in town.

Barcodes are only as reliable as they can be printed. The classic rule of computing still applies, garbage in, garbage out. For more information on how resolution can effect barcode scanning see our knowledge base. So not only is the idea of a barcode tattoo fairly rubbish, but the practicality is only going to produce something unreadable.

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