Barcode is one of the AIDC (Automatic Identification and Data Capture) technologies. This group includes RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) and RTLS (Real Time Locating Systems) as well. We will primarily cover barcode here but there is a relationship between the technologies that is important called Interoperability. There is also a relationship to IOT (Internet of Things).
There are many different barcode types (symbologies) in use around the world. Of the approximately 6 billion (YES, 6 BILLION) barcodes scanned each day, the vast majority are linear type barcodes. These are the very familiar ones composed of parallel lines that we see on our groceries. A more recent type called 2D type are composed of a matrix of dots arranged in a square or rectangular pattern. The 2D type are more efficient in that they can carry more data and occupy a smaller space. The 2D types have a certain amount of redundancy also. This allows the 2D types to tolerate degradation from handling quite a bit better and reduces the chance of a non-scan. Although the majority of the 6 billion scanned today are linear barcodes, the direction is clearly in favor of the 2D barcodes. Almost all new applications are specifying 2D barcodes. Although it may take a few years, it may be that we see the majority of barcodes as 2D types. At that time we may be scanning 10 billion a day!
The most widely used barcode types at this time are:
Linear – UPC and Code 128
2D – Datamatrix and QR