Tag Archives: business

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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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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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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Barcodes Fighting Forgery

News agency Reuters have reported that scientists in America have developed a ‘nano’ QR Code printed from fluorescent ink which can be used to help prevent counterfeiting. The basic idea is that the QR Codes, invisibly to the naked eye, are printed on the bank notes so they can be checked for authenticity later. Many people may ask why QR Codes? Bank notes have had invisible ink used to track them for years! Well QR Codes can contain far more information, and this information can be linked to a database which means without access to the database it will mean nothing to those attempting replication. Secondly they can be printed so small that they could be made to only be visible through a microscope, again making the job of any potential counterfeiters much harder.

Barcodes, in their simplicity are the ideal solution. The price to print them is only ever as much as the ink, compared to NFC chips which are less versatile. It is for this reason that it will be a very long time until we see them out of use, in fact it appears uses for barcodes are forever expanding.

If you want to explore what barcodes can do for your business then check out our website.

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QR Codes… not just for the living!

I have covered this news story previously when an American funeral directors and head stone producer started included QR Codes on head stones. I did not think I would see it again as I was doubtful people would wish to do anything novel with a grave stone.

However the BBC have now reported that it is taking off as a trend in Denmark. Since it has reappeared it seemed worth giving it another thought and it occurred to me that this was an excellent use of the technology. I am still not sure I would use the service myself but it solves the issue of a graveyards anonymity. If you see a head stone all you can gather from it is a name and some dates, you may be lucky to get a small quote but other than that there is nothing else we can find. Therefore as a system to neatly provide more information it is perfect, although the links must of course be well maintained.

Despite the fact I will not be rushing out to invest in this industry it does show the potential of QR Codes. With less than an inch square you can provide unlimited information through any media format you wish; not just text. If you wish to find out more about the potential of barcode reading for your company then check out our website.

Jack

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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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Promoting QR Code Use

In previous posts I have talked of how many people offer QR Codes to consumers with little in the way of incentives. The presence of a QR Code does not mean it will be used, people need to think that what they receive from doing so is worth while; this is why a QR Code linking to banal advertising will only discourage future use.

However Kenya and Uganda appear to be leading the way in making the most of this new technology. Small shops may not be able to introduce their own loyalty cards in the style of Tesco of ‘Nectar Cards’ in the UK but using the foursquare model of ‘checking in’ they gain both promotion and loyalty. So when a customer purchases something at a small business, say a cafe, they get a QR Code they scan which means they ‘check-in’ online and gain loyalty points. This seems to be a very logical solution, far better than reality many of us face with wallets and purses jammed full of loyalty cards you might only use a couple of times a year.

So it leads to free stuff for the customer and free advertising on someones timeline for the company and all without the use of a loyalty card. Sounds like Kenya and Uganda are leading the way in this area.

Jack

Want to know more about integrating mobile barcode scanning into your software/business? Check out our SDK here!

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