A barcode is a predefined format of white spaces and dark bars. Barcodes are defined as an optical, machine readable representation of data codes that includes a specific piece of data or information. Barcode technology is an automatic identification technology that can retrieve data through specially designed scanners. It can be generated using different barcoding techniques, called symbologies, classified into 2D and linear matrix. On a white background, the bars are typically black, and their quantity and width vary according to application. The symbologies technique determines the interpretation and mapping of the encoded data or information. The barcode scanner technology uses its own software that converts barcode information into a digital signal. Barcode readers contains a fixed auto discrimination feature which have the capacity to detect the symbology used and decodes respectively. This auto discrimination feature makes data entry more accurate by allowing the readers to map the combinations to the correct character.
Today’s barcodes have replaced the traditional pricing of products and become a very convenient way of reading and storing information. The barcode technology helps to eliminate the possibility of human error, increase efficiency in business operations and offers a reliable way to accurately read encoded information. Also, manual data entry, spreadsheet, repetitive task and paper logs have been replaced by barcoding technology. Apart from this, combination of barcode technology with system and application software improves productivity, performance and profitability.
The barcode technology market is experiencing growth owing to the factors such as real time data collection, accuracy of data unit, cost efficient, labour saving by avoiding manual system and presents unique identity of a product. Also, measurement of work in progress throughout the factory, explosion of e-commerce, rapid access to total production costs, more precise dispatch, and changing consumer habits have led to the increasing growth of this market. Barcodes have been extensively adopted in hospitals for certain applications which includes barcode medication administration systems for shots and drops, medicines, variable workflows, and control of the dispensing of drugs with in a hospital.
The barcode technology market can be segmented on the basis of types and applications .On the basis of type, the market has been segmented into linear (1D) and two-dimensional (2D) barcode systems. The linear barcodes are thick and thin black bars represented on a white background while, 2D matrix uses complicated patterns of blocks and arrangements instead of lines .Further, the application segmentation includes healthcare applications, inventory management, laboratories, library management, quality control, pharmaceutical tracking and attendance system. In quality and inventory management, the functions which are easily completed using barcode technology includes warehouse management, inventory control software and package tracking. Similarly, in mobile data collection industry, barcodes provide best solution for wireless data collection, market activity tracking and batch data collection which needs high level of accuracy and efficiency.
The major players in the global barcode technology market includes OCR Canada Ltd., General Data Company Inc., Honeywell International Inc., SATO, Zebra Technologies, Bluebird Inc., DENSO ADC, Opticon Sensors Europe B.V., Datalogic S.p.A., Motorola solutions, ZEBEX INDUSTRIES INC., and NCR Corporation.
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