Tag Archives: android

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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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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Meriden Linear Trail using QR Codes for Tourists

The Meriden trail has decided to start using QR Codes placed along the trail in order to provide information about the surroundings. The neat little QR Codes can provide easy to update platforms which don’t impinge on their surroundings as much as a large information board. The route which follows the original route of the Meriden, Waterbury, and Connecticut river railroad through Meriden is popular with both cyclists and walkers, helping attract tourists to the area.

Providing a more complete experience for tourists at such low cost will clearly benefit everyone, and is something that other low density tourist attractions should consider. Where numbers may be low and the investment money lacking such a  cheap solution is an ideal place to start with increasing the experience. More importantly it is sustainable, large information boards are costly and time consuming to change, webpages are dynamic and free to update.

But what about scanning these barcodes? Try our free to use android app or barcode reading software development kits.

Meriden Linear Trail

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Deck the halls with QR Codes? A Cautionary Tale.

By all accounts it is too early for this post. The mentioned of the ‘C’ word should be taboo, but the season of Christmas marketing is almost upon us. Marketing departments are starting to finalise their campaigns and try to find something different.

We will undoubtedly see many QR Codes as they try to capture the growing mobile markets. With the number of smartphones now used it is clear that they are a key part of how consumers interact with companies. Those companies who wish to spurn this development will be missing out on a large slice of the market.

However, despite reading many articles predicting a landslide of QR Code campaigns I think caution should be exercised. As I have mentioned many times in this blog you cannot force people to take the 20 seconds or so to scan a QR Code, you must offer them a reward! A shiny commercial for your product does not count, make it something worthwhile; a discount or some content of real value. What is more let them know what they will get before they scan, otherwise your QR Code may be lost alongside the thousands of others.

If you want to get your phone ready for QR Codes then check out our free barcode scanner app in the google play store or our Software Development Kits.

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Record Breaking Barcode

AC Labels, of Derby (UK), have set the world record for the longest linear barcode. The event was organised yo celebrate the 60th anniversary of the patenting of the barcode by the firm which specialises in barcode labels. So what does the barcode say if you scan it? “HAPPY 60TH BIRTHDAY BARCODE!” of course.

The barcode is 40m long, but is there anything capable of reading it? I was keen to give the picture a go in our SDK but sadly we only get part of the barcode here so we may never know. If anyone has a full size picture send it over and we will give it a go. Alternatively you can test our SDK, or ready-to-use application, yourself by downloading it from our website.

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There’s Something Fishy about this Barcode

The Frieze Art Fair in London is one of the biggest of its kind, with tickets starting at £20 it is certainly not cheap. However it is full of innovative new ideas and, this year at least, a novel approach to QR Codes.

We have seen QR Codes in many different guises, from corn mazes to office roofs there seems no limit to what they will be used for. This story is no different, albeit it a bit tastier. The sushi restaurant ‘Moshi Moshi’ has been inviting visitors to the art fair to try their sushi, but first to scan their food! The sushi itself is a QR Code which, when scanned, takes them to a website about the sustainability of the fish they are eating.

This trial is being held at the festival with a view to rolling it out to more of their restaurants, so you too could scan your food before you eat it. This is indeed another gimmicky use of the QR Code. However it is raising awareness about a very important message and reminding us that our food has its own back-story to tell is more relevant than ever.

If you are interesting in using QR Codes, or any type of barcode, in your business then check out our website for barcode reading solutions.

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QR Codes vs. Digital Signage: but should they be compared?

I have been exploring the uses of QR Codes for a while and it seems clear that they offer huge advantages, especially for small businesses. With the minimal set up costs and ease of implication it is an easy step to take. However the manner in which they are used is still widely variable.

Reading an article comparing the use of QR Codes vs. Digital Signage for small businesses set me thinking, should they be compared at all? The only similarity is the ease with which the content can be changed, but a QR Code should not simply be replacing the job of what a chalkboard can do. With the extra hassle of finding the application on the phone and waiting for the content to load it is simply not comparable in that sense. QR Codes are a brilliant way to bridge the gap between physical and online spheres, but only where that is desirable.

For example a small shop should not keep a list of in-store special offers on a webpage accessible through a QR Code, its just hassle for everyone. However if you wish to encourage webtraffic and want to shift stock online QR Codes are a perfect way to channel interest.

Want to explore what barcode reading can do for your business, check out our range of SDKs for various platforms or our ready-to-use application on our website.

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USPS Look to Book Festive Business with Barcodes

The United States Postal Service have announced they will once again be looking to raise awareness of their seasonal offers through encouraging people to engage with mail through new technologies such as mobile barcodes. This will allow business users of the mail service to qualify for a 1-2% discount on delivery over the period; a substantial sum for many firms. To qualify the companies simply have to include a QR Code on their mail, which can be read by the recipient, to take them to a personalised webpage or online catalogue.

In tandem with this is a campaign to encourage the distribution of coupons and promotional offers for mobile shoppers. For obvious reasons the USPS are keen to encourage mobile shopping, if you buy on your phone it will be them who are paid to get it to you! Therefore this seems very sensible, a company taking the initiative in ensuring the market moves in the direction that suits them as quickly as possible. This also demonstrates how QR Codes should be used, not as some weak promotional gimmick but as the link to something which encourages business whilst offering something to the customer.

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Creative Barcode: Intellectual Property Innovation

The Creative Barcode company claims they have the first innovation in the Intellectual Property sphere for more than three decades, and its a hard claim to refute. Not much has happened in the last three decades regarding intellectual property. However the way everyone works has changed massively with the onset of the internet and the digital age. Therefore this simple and intuitive solution allows for a dynamic approach and maximum control for the owner of intellectual property.

The Creative Barcode

The use of barcodes makes perfect sense since they can remain unchanged while the content they link to regarding the status of a piece of intellectual property may be dynamic. For more information check out their 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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