Barcode technology falls under the subset of Automatic Identification and Data Capture AIDC. AIDC is a technology sector concerned with data transfer and encoding. It seeks to provide information in a comprehensive and easy to access manner. This external information is usually encoded into such media as images, sound, and video. A common example is the barcodes used on products. Through the use of transducer technology, data is captured and converted into these media. The resultant media is then implanted onto the product it is intended to mark. For example, this can be done through the use of printed barcodes onto product surfaces.
The first advancement is in a barcode scanner. A barcode scanner has been evolved to provide increased functionality such as mobility, simplicity, and better data capture. Mobility has been achieved through the design and construction of devices that can be operated from a remote distance. Traditionally, barcode scanners were attached to a workstation which provided the energy requirements and the computational resources necessary for functionality. Battery powered scanners with limited computational resources have now been created. These devices can read barcodes without the need of a workstation.
A better data capture is being achieved through research into better optical character recognition systems. These have higher resolution capacity, allowing them to read the barcodes more accurately. Furthermore, implementation of radio frequency identification methods into existing barcodes provides a failsafe system. Information, which may not be easy to capture on the barcodes, can be read from the RFID tags. A second advancement is the incorporation of remote communication systems into the scanners. Remote communication systems allow the user of the device to transmit information to a central location. This is particularly useful where barcodes are used to solve logistical challenges. For example, these can be used where goods are being transported from the warehouse to the market. The third advancement is the use of a touchscreen monitor. Devices with a touchscreen monitor allow for more interaction with the AIDC method used. Such technology is a result of the proliferation of smart phones. These mobile computing devices have software developed for them that allows them to capture information present on barcodes. The use of this technology is reducing costs for companies by eliminating reliance on specialized hardware. This has led to the creation of three dimensional barcode systems which increase the amount of information that can be encoded. Such advancements in barcode technology are aimed at improving business efficiency.