Tag Archives: softek software

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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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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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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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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What can Barcodes do for me?

This blog has spent quite a long time exploring the weird and wonderful new uses of Barcodes in business, but what about the more normal functions barcodes offer. Although QR Codes are fantastic for holding large amounts of information a 1D barcode can also provide  effective service when linked to a database.

It is therefore worth considering whether the adoption of barcodes across your business could help efficiency and performance. Just some of the most obvious situations where barcodes excel are:

  • Tracking mobile workers
  • Organising Paperwork by Page*
  • Tracking and Organising Parts through a Factory/Warehouse
  • Control the use of hardware by workers

*Organising paperwork by barcodes is something which has enabled an effective link between physical and digital information for a long time before QR Codes. Although it is possible to integrate it into existing software systems through our Barcode Reader SDK it can also be easy to implement using our ready to use application; Bardecodefiler.

Any other obvious applications?

Jack

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Barcode Art

A large amount of my day is taken looking at barcodes. Whether it be to try and work out why someone can’t get it to be read (“have you checked it actually is a barcode sir?”) or simply geeking up on something I have to say they do lose some excitement; if they ever had any.  Therefore I found it fascinating when I came across this website with 12 examples of Barcode art. To see the mundane bars of data which I encounter every day used so differently was refreshing. Although some of them used the similarity to a cage there were several of them simply showcasing the strange, and very subtle,  interest in the shape of a barcode. I don’t think I’d actually like the barcode Chandelier or Sofa (ouch) in my home or office but their existence somewhere is nice to know.

This is not my first encounter with barcodes as art however; QR codes are used widely within the world of marketing and therefore interact with consumers in a way most barcodes do not. This inevitably leads to people trying to make them more appealing and more attention grabbing. It is not uncommon to see a barcode out of the usual black/white mould these days. Some take this one step further and turn the QR Codes into functional artwork as shown by this website which describes how. As a company who provide barcode reading software  software this is essentially a nightmare as they are deliberately taking away the large redundancy provided by QR Codes which make them so effective. I have personally found several examples where so much data has been removed the barcode is no longer readable.It has also occurred to me that by turning the QR Code into art it becomes far less obvious to the consumer what they should do with it.

Our website is covered with pictures of barcode type images appearing in nature, mainly of course in the form of tree lines. Check them out for yourself here.

Jack

 

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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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Code 39 Barcode Creation

The creation of barcodes should in reality be the easy bit, the harder part should be the database and the accurate reading of the barcode. However this is of course all insignificant if the barcode itself is not correct. Despite the simple appearance of barcodes, especially Code 39 barcodes, it is all too easy to forget the simply rules which allow for the barcodes to be read. Just as with any language, be it in computing or something as ‘simple’ as every day English, certain rules must be obeyed.

Although a barcode generator will often ensure that these procedures are followed fonts are often used to create barcodes. It is in these instances that the ‘stop’ and ‘start’ characters are often forgotten or the number of bars is not correct. This can lead to the frustrating situation of a perfectly normal looking barcode failing to be read.

The rules though are very simple, as is the beauty of Code 3 of 9. For more information on what constitutes a correct Code 39 barcode visit the Bardecode Knowledge Base on our website.

Anything else you want to know about barcodes? Just ask and we will endeavour to add it to our knowledge base.

Jack

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