So you only just got your head around 1D barcodes.  These are the ones that you commonly see in the supermarkets etc.  There are over 40 1D barcode types now but they are all largely the same kind of format, with vertical bars of differing widths being readable by a barcode scanner to give you a short piece of alpha numeric information.

1D barcodes are used everywhere now and they are still the staple barcode symbology used by most businesses.  So what are 2D barcode types, why use them and what are they all about!

2d Barcode Types

2D barcodes differ from 1D barcodes quite a lot.  Firstly they can store a lot more information in them that means in a supply chain where many companies are all using different systems, it is feasible to still track something all the way along.  In the parcel delivery business there is still not an accepted standard system to track parcels between couriers but by using a 2D barcode anyone with a 2D barcode scanner can view and parse address details of the receiver.  It also allows you to push more data onto the item being tracked so if in doubt you have more information than an ID code to help you do what you need to do.  So 2D barcodes make your solution a little more robust and they’re also more future proof because you have a lot more flexibility in the amount if information you can store.  We’re seeing 2D barcodes on all sorts of products now where they are being used for all sorts of logistics and consumer reasons from competitions to tracking.  They also take up a lot less space than an equivalent 1D barcode needs, packing lots of data into a much smaller area.

2D barcodes are also more secure as the data can be encoded within them and they do not immediately display the data within them making it more difficult for casual users to snatch data out of them.  They’re also more reliable, being able to be read when part of the 2D barcode is missing, unlike 1D symbologies where you must generally have a line of sight through the barcode or it will miss-read.

Downsides of 2D Barcode Types

Well firstly they are slightly more costly to produce and run.  They might require later hardware to print and will certainly need a 2D capable barcode scanner to read them which, although coming down, are still more costly than their 1D barcode scanner counterparts.  The main stumbling block is that 2D barcodes will need your solution to be re-written slightly but the benefits will out weigh this in the medium term.

Lastly there is an argument to say that 2D barcodes might have come too late.  With RFID becoming cheaper every day there is also a far superior technology that might render 2D barcodes redundant before they even get warmed up.

For more see my Barcode articles section on my website here

If you need any advise on barcodes then drop me a line on twitter or here and i’ll be only too happy to help.


The Rugged and Mobile blog.

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