A Short Tutorial from Panatrack’s Tracking Technology Experts
Contrary to common belief, barcodes don’t typically contain descriptive data. Instead, the data stored in a barcode is typically just a reference number that a host database uses to look up the desired information.
For example, the barcode on an item at the grocery store is not correlated with that item’s description or price when the UPC barcode is scanned – rather, it is associated to a record in the store’s database where that information is stored.
In simplest terms, scanning the barcode tells the system to look up the associated record and return the information stored in that record. What that means is that the database record details can be changed without the need to make any change to the label. For that reason, we always recommend that information on the label is data that won’t change. For example, don’t put on a location as the location is something that changes.
Barcode technology has been around since the early 1950’s, and since then, a variety of different barcode symbologies – also known as languages – have been created, each with its own rules and features. Symbologies may require a specific number of characters, allow numbers only, or can include the full character set.
Linear – or 1D (1-dimensional) – barcodes are typically things like a license plate or identifier for an item in a database. Matrix – or 2D (2-dimensional) – barcodes can hold more information and may potentially even contain the data itself.
Barcode systems are a critical element in conducting business in today’s economy. The adoption of barcode technology provides more accurate data capture than keyboard entry, by realizing true efficiency with the ability to quickly access and display critical information with a simple scan of a barcode.
Panatrack specializes in applications for rugged mobile computers with integrated barcode scanning to streamline business operations.
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