Barcodes and barcode scanners are ubiquitous. They are so close to us that we frequently miss them. But where did they come from? How do they work?
As a businessperson, you need to learn some fundamentals before choosing your ideal barcode scanner. Luckily, ASP Microcomputers is here to help. Continue reading to learn more about barcode scanners:
Fundamental #1: Barcode Scanners Scan Barcodes
We’ve probably all seen barcode scanners scanning teeny black and white lines or strips on merchandise. A barcode symbol is a distinctive identifier that can be printed on goods or paperwork come. Barcodes were created in the early 1800s by French scientists, specifically Jean-Jacques Conte and Louis Lecoq.
They were developed as a replacement for conventional labels on items, such as coats and caps, which could easily be misplaced or stolen. George Lauer, an electrical engineer at IBM, however fully developed the scanner and the Universal Product Code (UPC), or barcode.
Fundamental #2: How Do Barcode Scanners Work?
The scanner detects the reflected light from the red light by reading the barcode symbol. It then sends an analog signal to the decoder which then interprets the information. The decoder determines the type of barcode symbology it is viewing, translates the content of the bars and spaces, and sends data to a computer in a format that is legible to the user.
Fundamental #3: Not All Barcode Scanners Are Alike
There are different kinds of barcode scanners. Some popular ones include:
- Pen wands
- Slot scanners
- Charge-Couple Device (CCD) scanners
- Image scanners
- 2D Area Imagers
- Laser scanners
All these barcode scanners are powered differently and they have different types of scanning technology. For instance, pen wands are handheld, slot scanners are stationary and you need to set the barcode on the reader device for it to pick the signal.
However, CCD scanners are widely used in retail and can read barcodes that are about the same width as the face. For them to function, a barcode must be held nearby. On the other hand, laser scanners can read barcodes up to 30 feet away!
Fundamental #4: Scanner Connectivity Is Crucial
Did you know that most scanners cannot work until you have proper connectivity? People often forget that the barcode scanner needs to be connected to a larger database to keep track of inventory stock levels and prices. In the past, scanners and other devices of the same nature were connected to computers using cables or cords.
These remain the most prevalent and affordable types of scanners. However, there are negative aspects to them such as scanner malfunctions caused by cable problems, which prevent you from moving your scanner around to scan far-off or difficult-to-reach objects. For wireless scanners, you need a reliable internet connection.
Fundamental #5: 1D and 2D Barcodes
There are 2 main types of barcodes. 1D and 2D codes. 1D codes are linear and only include roughly 20–25 characters of information while 2D codes have both vertical and horizontal information, allowing them to hold about 200 characters. Businesses all across the world have used 1D barcodes virtually exclusively for decades.
Even when 2D barcodes initially entered the market, adoption of the better technology was delayed. It was only in the middle of the 2000s that QR codes were used. And that’s understandable because 1D barcodes and their scanners were, and still are, incredibly helpful in and of themselves.
ASP Microcomputers: Best Australian Barcode Scanner Dealer
Some of these fundamental barcode scanner concepts may have appeared obvious, but they are not, and we bet you’re intrigued by them. Well, now you know and are in a better position to select a barcode scanner that will benefit your inventory tracking and asset management.
For this, contact ASP microcomputers. We are Australia’s top option for the best scanners. We offer a comprehensive selection of barcode scanners at the most competitive prices. Contact us!