Tag Archives: mobile phone

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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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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Instant Quote for Used Phone…Enabled by QR Codes

Everyone has seen adverts for these companies, the model obviously proves profitable. Old smartphones can be traded in, for money, to be recycled. These companies make money, the consumer makes money and the phones do not end up straight in the landfill. However the process is not flawless, the companies like to view the phones before they pay money for them and consumers are easily put off by such obstacles. This means that only around 10% ever get recycled in such a manner.

So what is the solution? QR Codes of course. American company MaxBack has released a QR Code which, when scanned, assesses the phone and makes an instant offer. This clever use of the QR Code works in several ways. Firstly its entire target audience has smartphones so can scan the device, secondly it is self selecting. If someone has a smartphone which is so run down it will no longer scan a QR Code then it cannot get the offer. Finally it means that when someone sends their phone off they can do so with a good awareness of what they will receive in return.

So don’t get bogged down in the numerous terrible uses of QR Codes, embrace those who do the technology justice! For more information on our Mobile Barcode Reading SDK check out our website.

Jack

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Barcodes Reach 60!

60 years ago, on sunday 7th October, the barcode patent was filed in the USA. It only took another 22 years for the required readers to appear and for them to appear in the first shops in 1974 but since then the world has not looked back. The fact that the barcode was invented decades before an effective method for reading them was developed is testament to how simple the barcodes themselves are, simply lines of ink.

The BBC have written a very interesting piece about barcodes on their 60th birthday, exploring the standard debate surround QR Codes vs. Traditional 1D barcodes, worth a read but I will try not to regurgitate.

The major point I think it is worth making on the 60th birthday of the Barcode is that they show no sign of disappearing. The task they perform in linking physical objects to a digital database is more relevant than ever, and there is nothing which can compete in terms of cost-effectiveness. So do I think that we will be celebrating 100 years of barcodes in the year 2052? Yes. I am sure that Near Field Communication will develop and the price will come down but the simplicity of barcodes is going to keep them central to the indsutrialised world. Especially as more countries become industrialised and there is a greater competition for resources the simply solutions will surely stand the test.

What are you opinions on the future hopes of barcodes?

If you are interested in exploring what barcodes can do for your business then check out our website, with Software Development Kits and a ready-to-use application there is something to suit anyone.

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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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Optimizing Income: QR Codes

If there is one industry which has to continually innovate it is the charity sector; often the first to feel the hit of an economic downturn as people feel they can be less generous with their hard earned cash. Therefore they are always quick adopters of new technology to optimise their income, the less money spent publicising the more money they can reserve for the real work.

In recent years the Salvation Army and homeless charity Simon on the Street, among others, have used QR Codes to direct people to an optimised payment page where a donation can be made. So if someone simply has no cash on them it is no problem for the collectors! What is more QR Codes take almost no investment to introduce, they are easily made for free and only cost as much as the paper they are printed on.

It is also worth remembering that the application required on smart phones for reading the QR Codes is freely available and most owners have such technology. We have our own freely available QR Code reader available for Android Phones which can be found on Google Play.

Fore more information on QR Codes check out our knowledge base.

Jack

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Unlimited Mobile Data a thing of the Past?

Over in the USA Verizon has recently become the latest major carrier to stop offering unlimited mobile data to customers, instead customers must now choose the amount that they pay for through the cost of package they choose. With Christmas now almost upon us, a time of year when many people will be entering the smart phone market for the first time, does this show that the growth in mobile data use has really exploded in recent times? With increasingly more powerful phones is it feasible with the existing infrastructure to have everyone connecting to online videos and cloud services?

The point that struck me most about this story is that the entry level data allocation from Verizon is 2gb. Now in Britain phone companies offer ‘unlimited’ mobile data use which in reality is capped at simply 500mb! Myself, as an avid mobile internet user, barely get past 100mb a month since most places now have wifi you can easily hop onto. Therefore I would argue that unless you have decided to ditch the home internet in favour of simply using mobile internet, such as using your phone as a router, then this is unlikely to really cause any grief. However it is likely to be a first step and either prices will go up for data or allowances will come down… or more likely both.

The hardest part though is that new phones and new services such as cloud computing are going to put increasing demands on data use with mobiles. While I am confident that such issues will be overcome it is worth analysing the trends in mobile data offers to see how future mobile phone use may be effected; could QR Codes really take off if data become so expensive? Would it be worth a consumer using up a few megabytes to view a promotional video?

Jack

 

 

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QR Codes… What are they?!

As with many other people I have been guilty of continually espousing the greatness of the QR Codes… soon they will replace meal times! err.. maybe not. However it is generally expected that their growth will continue and eventually it will be an expected part of any advert. In some magazines I now look through it has become the norm; there are far more adverts with QR Codes than without.

Therefore I was very surprised today to find an article on CNN entitled “Why QR Codes Aren’t Catching On.” My first reaction to this was that they were clearly mad, had they not seen the QR Code expanding onto everything from beer mats to volleyball kits? However after reading the article it was obvious that wasn’t the point. While the little box of pixels may now be everywhere its functionality is generally passing people by and I don’t just mean elderly people without smart phones. The research looked at college students, of whom 80% had smart phones and had previously seen a QR Code, and found that only 20% were able to successfully scan a QR Code.

Now this made me feel a little silly with my previous blogs claiming everyone now knew instinctively what they were expected to do with a QR Code allowing for a company to gain more tangible results from physical advertising. If those most surrounded and immersed in new technology, students, are failing to engage with QR Codes and generally letting it pass them by then what is the hope for reaching the rest of society. Many of the students were not even aware that a third party application was required on there phone to read the QR Codes.

Furthermore aside from ignorance of what QR Codes do many of those who were comfortable using them found the process for readinhg them unreliable and time consuming. In the age of instant gratification it is a big ask to try and get a consumer to spend even 20 seconds getting there phone out, selecting the application and then ensuring a correct read. It should be remembered that QR Codes require some level of correct positioning on a screen to gain a correct read; it is not simply a case of waving a camera at a billboard! This is made even worse by creative advertising agencies created coloured QR Codes or using the redundancy for corporate logos.

Although I do not believe that this is the death of QR Codes it is worth remembering that while the growth in use is rapid within advertising and media the growth of consumer use is somewhat lagging behind. Until barcode scanners software reaches a point where the reading of  a QR Code is instant and possibly until the software is integrated with a mobile’s camera software completely there will always be limitations.

Do you think this is a real problem or simply growing pains of a new technology?

For more information on our mobile barcode scanner SDKs please visit our website.

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The Growth of Barcode Use

Barcodes have been around for years now, it’s hard to imagine a shop without them. However, as discussed in earlier posts, they are no longer simply the preserve of those working in commerce; the public is now being invited to scan barcodes themselves. I was recently reading an article on the website Mobile Squared and was astounded by the figures mentioned. In the US in 2010 the article claims that Barcode use expanded by a humongous 1600% ! What is most staggering about this is that Barcodes were clearly in widespread use beforehand, such a figure shows how vast the market is for personal use of barcodes.

The article does suggest that Europe is lagging behind in terms of barcode adoption but that this is rapidly changing.  Yesterday, confined to the joy of a long distance train journey, I was looking through the Newspaper and found barcodes everywhere, not simply on the front for a cashier but in adverts tempting the reader to engage. This is also being seen with Tesco starting to introduce  Augmented Reality (with a name like that should be much more exciting!) into their stores. This can only bring more excitement into what is likely a rather dull shopping experience, bridging the gap between what people are able to do at home when shopping online and what they can do instore; viewing trailers for DVDs etc.

Barcodes then are rapidly moving into a new domain, away from logistics and into everyday life. Although America may be ahead of the game currently there is no avoiding the expansion in Europe too. Personally I don’t think that 2010 with be the last year for which we see outrageous growth statistics in the thousands!

Jack

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Barcodes: Bridging the Gap?

Every year around this time, in the run up to Christmas, we hear about the new levels reached in online sales. “The end of the highstreet!” we are told, yet still the shopping centres are the same horrific places to visit, with hoards of people and prams trying to take off your ankles. It seems to me that a webpage will never be able to replace the ability to try something on, browse through a shelf or the instant gratification of purchasing and owning immediately; even next day delivery cannot promise that.

So while it makes good headlines, and even better comedy sketches, to imagine a world where the highstreets disappear and the internet is king human nature is unlikely to ever allow this to happen. However innovation is inevitable. Barcodes have been a mainstay of shops for a long time now but they are only just starting to become a tool of the customer as well as a tool of the shop owners themselves. Martin Gill, of Forrester research, has recently been quoted by the BBC as saying “Apps like bar code scanning, store locator, checking physical stock online via your phone – all of these features are turning your mobile into a shopping buddy or a shopping assistant.” This fusion of the physical and online shopping worlds looks to be the logical conclusion of growing technological capabilities, the practical limitations of logistics means that internet shopping cannot be a replacement for the shop but as with any age the case is innovate or disappear for the shops. Although many may try and resist the change and lose out to others the end of the shops is not upon us. The integration of barcode reading technology allows for the quick transfer of information from the physical world to the internet meaning that simply because you are in the shop, you don’t miss out on the benefits of the internet.

Any other areas where you think barcodes are making a big impact?

Jack

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