Decoding the Barcode Technology

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Be it a pack of chips that you buy, or even that can of mosquito repellent spray, ever wondered about those black bars with random numbers right there on the pack? 

You wouldn’t have associated them with anything apart from Zebra or zebra-crossing, right! 

No matter, how unnoticed these zebra stripes may have been, you must have pondered about them every time they were brought close to a handy machine and pat would come all the information on the billing screen.

Well, these simple, straight lines play a very complex role in improving operational efficiency, preventing data entry and management errors by tracking all the information about products. 


How Do Barcodes Help?

Most of the industries use barcodes today, be it healthcare, manufacturing or education industry. To elaborate a bit, in healthcare industry, barcodes help in tracking about patient and medicine data. It does all the data management like in education industry also, where the school inventory management gets automated, with lesser requirement of administrative work for the teachers and administration staff. 

Retail marts can’t even be imagined without operating on barcode technology as it helps them run the entire store through centralized record management on a computer system, keeping a track of all product prices, purchases or transactions and stock of products. 


What Do These Bars Represent?

These seemingly, bizarre bars represent the numbers 0 to 9. They give a product entity, a unique identifying number or code which is read by an electronic scanning device. Why so much complexities, when the numbers could be printed straightway, right? Well, having printed simply the number itself, would have troubled by misleading misprints causing confusions like ‘3 or 8’, thereby causing a complete havoc in the billing process. Barcode technology offers a reliable source of getting these numbers printed on the product, for quick and accurate determination. 


What are QR Codes?

With the passage of time, the technology has been changing the face of almost everything, even bar codes! Bar Codes hold specific information about the product just in horizontal direction, therefore QR or Quick Response codes were developed that could hold large complex information, and be determined both in horizontal and vertical directions. QR codes are the trend now, who could present a better example than PayTM and WhatsApp Web! 


How are Bar Codes Read?

Codes are codes and are meant to be decoded, to be understood. Bar codes are read by a bar code reader or scanner that primarily has three parts – the illuminator, the sensor, and decoder. The illuminator throws red light on the code, the sensor generates signal and sends it to decoder, which finally reads the signal, validates and converts it to text which is sent to the computer system. 


The Advent of Bar Code Reader

Technology has given us tremendous authority so much that today we are carrying such code scanners even in our phones! Among the pen-type reader, laser scanner, camera scanner, CCD reader, and multi-directional ones, the most advanced is the latter that can decode even the badly printed, worn and torn barcodes on product packs. 

Barcode readers or scanners have become a routine equipment everywhere. Big or small, businesses cannot run without Barcode technology owing to the increased efficiency due to following benefits: 


  • Time Management – Instead of entering all the information manually, a barcode scanner is used to scan all the information and transmitting it to the attached computer system, within seconds! That has truly helped in better time management.
  • Error-free Data Management – Too err is human and to not, is a machine! A barcode scanner fetches all the correct information with just a blink of an eye. The probability of error is reduced many times.
  • Enhanced Efficiency – The time saved in manual data entry and tracking, is utilized in other operations which in return gets better efficiency.
  • Smoother Operations – The reduced probability of error helps in preventing any glitches and hours wasted on them, allowing smooth flow of processes.

In pursuit of limiting the limitations, we have come a long way transforming the world with technological amelioration, time to time. Barcode technology has also evolved with innovations like Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags, the smarter version of Barcodes.

To know about RFID Technology, click here!

Staff Reporter
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Tarika Personnel