Every time we purchase something we interact with a barcode, but rarely do we give them much notice. Yet barcodes play a crucial role in the effective and efficient operation of our economy, from small businesses to large multinational conglomerates.
WHAT IS A BARCODE?
A barcode is a machine-readable code composed of numbers and a pattern made of parallel lines of varying widths used to identify a product. Barcode systems track products, prices, and stock levels for an integrated management software allowing productivity and efficiency to increase.
The lines and patterns on a barcode are actual representations of numbers and data. It allows basic information about a product to be easily read by a barcode scanner and automatically recorded into a system. Barcodes vastly reduce the time it takes to record such information and eliminates the potential for human error.
Barcodes started out with simple 1-dimensional designs, consisting of basic black lines that could only be read by specially designed barcode scanners. However, today barcodes come in many shapes and sizes and a wide range of designs, now they can even be scanned by mobile devices.
1D VS 2D BARCODES
There are two types of barcodes: linear – or 1D, and 2D. The most visually recognizable, the UPC (Universal Product Code) is a linear 1D barcode made up of two parts: the barcode and the 12-digit UPC number. The first six numbers of the barcode is the manufacturer’s identification number. The next five digits represent the item’s number. The last number is called a check digit which enables the scanner to determine if the barcode was scanned correctly.
A linear barcode typically holds any type of text information. In contrast, a 2D barcode is more complex and can include more information in the code: price, quantity, web address or image. A linear barcode scanner cannot read a 2D barcode, requiring the use of an image scanner for reading the information embedded in a 2D barcode. Mobile phones with cameras, like iPhones and Android phones, and many other devices can read 2D barcodes through their integrated cameras.
The development of the 2D barcode greatly expanded the application of barcodes. Now that they could contain more information and are easily readable by consumers (via their mobile phones) the 2D barcode could do much more than just keep track of assets and inventory.
Today, 2D codes, especially QR codes, which can hold as much as 7,000 digits or 4,000 characters of text, are used by companies to share information or websites and videos with consumers, or by healthcare facilities to monitor medication, and even to integrate data with programs like MS Office, MS SQL Servers, and other databases and files. Try this free QR code generator to create a QR code for your business.
Advantages of Asset Panda
A big part of what makes Asset Panda such a robust fixed asset tracking software is the ability to scan barcodes using mobile devices. Customers are not required to purchase any extra equipment or expensive hardware in order to track their fixed assets by using barcodes. Another great advantage of choosing Asset Panda’s fixed asset tracking software is that customers use the mobile devices they already carry. Offering free and unlimited downloads of the mobile apps, Asset Panda comes ahead the competition on pricing and convenience.
To learn how to generate barcodes through your Asset Panda account, check out “How to Generate Barcodes” user guide.