Mobile & Wireless: It’s a 1D world, but 2D is coming on strong

Camera-based imaging is one of the fastest-growing areas of data capture.

By ·

2D bar codes and camera-based imaging is one of the brightest spots in the data capture space. That was one of the takeaways of our annual look at the top 20 suppliers of automatic data capture technology, which Modern does in conjunction with VDC Research Group.  VDC is predicting the demand for 2D imaging will outpace all other bar code technologies through 2015.

You’ll get no argument about that prediction from John Britts, senior director of product management for advance data capture at Motorola Solutions, which was once again number one on the top 20 list. “We’re seeing the same thing at Motorola Solutions as they’re seeing at VDC,” he says.

The ostensible reason for our conversation was the announcement of some new camera-based products from Motorola. But most of our conversation was about the market. In part, Britts says the growth is being driven by new service-oriented applications that are bringing bar coding into new territories, such as the hospitality desk at hotel chains, retailers sending coupons to mobile phones, quick response codes for retail promotions and using your mobile phone to check into an airline. But 2D is also finding a home in data rich industries, like consumer electronics and auto manufacturing.

“If you look at a cell phone package, you’ll see there are four or five bar codes on the side of the box,” says Britt. “With a traditional laser scanner, I have to capture those one at a time. With one pull of the trigger on a camera-based imaging system, I can capture all of those images simultaneously and distribute them separately to a host system.”

Similarly, camera-based imaging is allowing more efficient processes at work stations in a manufacturing facility. Rather than print and apply bar codes that are read by a laser scanner, a camera-based imaging system can read a 1D or 2D bar code displayed on an LCD. “I can read the code directly off the display and eliminate the printing step,” says Britts. 

Behind it all is the demand for more information. In addition to the product information contained on a 1D bar code, a 2D code can provide a product description, a product date and a lot code, all of which can be used for tracking and tracing after a product is distributed or sold.

“It’s still a 1D world in the supply chain,” says Britts. “That’s because most of the governing bodies and many countries still have 1D standards, but that will change.”

 


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
Download the full 2016 Modern Materials Handling Salary Survey
How does your earning power match up with your peers across the material handling industry? Materials Handling salary survey, Warehouse manager salary survey, Warehouse Salary Research
Download Today!
From the November 2016 Issue
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to the line. The result is a more consistent, efficient and safer operation.
Optimizing home delivery: It takes more than planning
9th Annual Salary Survey: Success and Satisfaction Continue to Reign
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Systems Report: Whirpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...
Modern Materials Handling’s 2017 Casebook Collection
The 2017 Casebook features more than 35 case studies that put the spotlight on successful innovation...

Brownells: Designing for Efficiency and Growth
Brownells’ new Iowa distribution center has taken touches—and miles—out of the order...
Industry celebrates National Manufacturing Day
Fourth annual Manufacturing Day is a grassroots effort by U.S. manufacturers to improve the public...