Premier logo   Home  |  Contact Us  |  Site Map  |  Print page  to print
call centre banner

link
Barcode  

Barcodes

Premiercallcentre.co.uk can provide informative help for companies who think they need barcodes for their business. We're one of the largest call centres in the UK so if you need help, we may be able to help you with your business.

A barcode (also bar code) is an optical machine-readable representation of data. Originally, bar codes represented data in the widths (lines) and the spacing’s of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1D (1 dimensional) barcodes or symbologies. They also come in patterns of squares, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns within images termed 2D (2 dimensional) matrix codes or symbologies. Although 2D systems use symbols other than bars, they are generally referred to as barcodes as well.

The first use of barcodes was to label railroad cars, but they were not commercially successful until they were used to automate supermarket checkout systems, a task in which they have become almost universal. Their use has spread to many other roles as well, tasks that are generically referred to as Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC). Other systems are attempting to make inroads in the AIDC market, but the simplicity, universality and low cost of barcodes has limited the role of these other systems. It costs about £0.005 to implement a barcode compared to passive RFID which still costs about £0.07 to £0.30 per tag.

Barcodes can be read by optical scanners called barcode readers, or scanned from an image by special software. In Japan most mobile phones have built-in scanning software for 2D codes, and similar software is becoming available on Smartphone platforms.

Barcode Use

Since the 20th century, barcodes — especially the UPC — have slowly become an essential part of modern civilization. Their use is widespread, and the technology behind barcodes is constantly improving. Some modern applications of barcodes include:

  • Almost every item purchased from a grocery store, department store, and mass merchandiser has a UPC barcode on it. This greatly helps in keeping track of a large number of items in a store and also reduces instances of shoplifting involving price tag swapping, although shoplifters can now print their own barcodes. Since the adoption of barcodes, both consumers and retailers have benefited from the savings generated.
  • Document Management tools often allow for bar-coded sheets to facilitate the separation and indexing of documents that have been imaged in batch scanning applications.
  • The tracking of item movement, including rental cars, airline luggage, nuclear waste, mail and parcels.
  • Since 2005, airlines use an IATA-standard 2D barcode on boarding passes (BCBP), and since 2008 2D barcodes sent to mobile phones enable electronic boarding passes.
  • Recently, researchers have placed tiny barcodes on individual bees to track the insects' mating habits.
  • Many tickets now have barcodes that need to be validated before allowing the holder to enter sports arenas, cinemas, theatres, fairgrounds, transportation etc.
  • Used on automobiles, can be located on front or back.
  • Joined with in-motion check-weighers to identify the item being weighed in a conveyor line for data collection
  • Some 2D barcodes embed a hyperlink to a web page. A capable cell-phone might be used to read the barcode and browse the linked website.
  • In the 1970s and 1980s, software source code was occasionally encoded in a barcode and printed on paper. Cauzin Softstrip and Paperbyte are barcode symbologies specifically designed for this application.
  •  The 1991 Barcode Battler computer game system, which used any standard barcode to generate combat statistics.
  • 1992, Veterans Health Administration developed Bar Code Medication Administration system (BCMA).
  • At the turn of the century, many artists started using barcodes in art, such as Scott Blake's Barcode Jesus.

Symbologies

The mapping between messages and barcodes is called a symbology. The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the single digits/characters of the message as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space, the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode as well as the computation of a checksum.

Linear Symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties:

  • Continuous vs. discrete: Characters in continuous symbologies usually abut, with one character ending with a space and the next beginning with a bar, or vice versa. Characters in discrete symbologies begin and end with bars; the intercharacter space is ignored, as long as it is not wide enough to look like the code ends.
  • Two-width vs. many-width: Bars and spaces in two-width symbologies are wide or narrow; how wide a wide bar is exactly has no significance as long as the symbology requirements for wide bars are adhered to (usually two to three times wider than a narrow bar). Bars and spaces in many-width symbologies are all multiples of a basic width called the module; most such codes use four widths of 1, 2, 3 and 4 modules.

Some symbologies use interleaving. The first character is encoded using black bars of varying width. The second character is then encoded, by varying the width of the white spaces between these bars. Thus characters are encoded in pairs over the same section of the barcode. Interleaved 2 of 5 is an example of this.

Stacked symbologies consist of a given linear symbology repeated vertically in multiple.

There is a large variety of 2D symbologies. The most common are matrix codes, which feature square or dot-shaped modules arranged on a grid pattern. 2-D symbologies also come in a variety of other visual formats. Aside from circular patterns, there are several 2-D symbologies which employ steganography by hiding an array of different-sized or -shaped modules within a user-specified image (for example, DataGlyphs).

Scanner/symbology interaction

Linear symbologies are optimized to be read by a laser scanner, which sweeps a beam of light across the barcode in a straight line, reading a slice of the barcode light-dark patterns. In the 1990s development of CCD imagers to read barcodes was pioneered by Welch Allyn. Imaging does not require moving parts, like a laser scanner does. In 2007, linear imaging was surpassing laser scanning as the preferred scan engine for its performance and durability.

Stacked symbologies are also optimized for laser scanning, with the laser making multiple passes across the barcode.

2-D symbologies cannot be read by a laser as there is typically no sweep pattern that can encompass the entire symbol. They must be scanned by an image-based scanner employing a charge coupled device (CCD) or other digital camera sensor technology.

Barcode reader

The earliest, and still the cheapest, barcode scanners are built from a fixed light and a single photosensor that is manually "scrubbed" across the barcode.

Barcode scanners can be classified into three categories based on their connection to the computer. The older type is the RS-232 barcode scanner. This type requires special programming for transferring the input data to the application program. Another type connects between a computer and its PS/2 or AT keyboard by the use of an adaptor cable. The third type is the USB barcode scanner, which is a more modern and more easily installed device than the RS-232 scanner. Like the keyboard interface scanner, this has the advantage that it does not need any code or program for transferring input data to the application program; when you scan the barcode its data is sent to the computer as if it had been typed on the keyboard.

Verifier (Pika inspection)

Barcode verifiers are primarily used by businesses that print barcodes, but any trading partner in the supply chain could test barcode quality. It is important to "grade" a barcode to ensure that any scanner in the supply chain can read the barcode. Retailers levy large fines and penalties for non-compliant barcodes.

Barcode verifiers work in a way similar to a scanner but instead of simply decoding a barcode, a verifier performs a series of eight tests. Each test is given a grade from 0.0 to 4.0 (F to A) and the lowest of any of the tests is the scan grade. For most applications a 2.5 (C) grade is the minimum acceptable grade.

Benefits

In point-of-sale management, the use of barcodes can provide very detailed up-to-date information on key aspects of the business, enabling decisions to be made much more quickly and with more confidence. For example:

  • Fast-selling items can be identified quickly and automatically reordered to meet consumer demand,
  • Slow-selling items can be identified, preventing a build-up of unwanted stock,
  • The effects of repositioning a given product within a store can be monitored, allowing fast-moving more profitable items to occupy the best space,
  • Historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately,
  • Items may be repriced on the shelf to reflect both sale prices and price increases.

Besides sales and inventory tracking, barcodes are very useful in shipping/receiving/tracking.

  • When a manufacturer packs a box with any given item, a Unique Identifying Number (UID) can be assigned to the box.
  • A relational database can be created to relate the UID to relevant information about the box; such as order number, items packed, qty packed, final destination, etc…
  • The information can be transmitted through a communication system such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) so the retailer has the information about a shipment before it arrives.
  • Tracking results when shipments are sent to a Distribution Center (DC) before being forwarded to the final destination.
  • When the shipment gets to the final destination, the UID gets scanned, and the store knows where the order came from, what's inside the box, and how much to pay the manufacturer.

How can we help you with Barcoding

The reason barcodes are business-friendly is that the scanners are relatively low cost and extremely accurate compared to key-entry, with only about 1 substitution error in 15,000 to 36 trillion characters entered. The exact error rate depends on the type of barcode. If you are interested in investing bar-coding into your business contact premiercallcentre.co.uk, we are a professional call center that is an expert in business services. Our staff whom are based in our UK site, are on hand to answer your call and help you. We have proven track record in delivering a whole range of business handling for your company.

call centre contact

Are you looking for an 'Award Winning' Call Centre?

Premier Call Centre are able to take your calls efficiently and professionally helping your Business, or Organisation run as smoothly and cost effectively as possible. Call us today on 0871 875 7000 for a FREE no obligation quote.

UK Contact Centre

Our service standards are not only second to none, but we can also save you significant time as well as money. Our Call Centre can work out far cheaper for you to employ us to support your calls than employ your own team of staff. Call Premiercallcentre.co.uk today!

satisfaction gaurantee

Premier Call Centre News:

Indian call centre executive sends terror emails

 An Indian call centre manager decided to test the police in Mumbai by sending terror emails.

South Africa becoming contender for call centre business

South Africa, and especially Cape Town, is growing as an international hub for off shore service providers.  

Emergency call centre to move out of Oxfordshire

 The Fire Brigade Union have said they will fight to keep an emergency call centre in Oxfordshire.

Santander saves 300 call centre jobs

 The call centre, previously run by the Royal Bank of Scotland, is going to be taken over by Santander saving almost 300 jobs.

 

Call centre staff asked to work longer into the evenings and on Sundays

 Call centre staff working for Thomas Cook are in discussions with the management who want to extend their working hours into the evenings up to 10pm and on Sundays.

<< Archive

 

 

 

 

 

Terms and Conditions - Privacy - Advertisers - Call Centre Information - Contact Centre - Contact Us