Barcode scanners have made the life easier for traders and shoppers alike. How exactly a scanner works, decodes information from the black and white strips on the grocery or any merchandise and sends the collected information to the POS terminal to generate bills? It’s interesting to know about it.
Ever since the invention of the barcode technology more than six decades ago, there have been continuous efforts to make the technology faster, reliable, trendier, user-friendly and more customer centric.
Shoppers are more worried about accurate scanning and faster checkouts. In true sense, no shopper or for that matter even staff at checkouts, would really bother to understand the complexities involved in scanning barcodes to printing bills. Technology has made the complex process smooth, sophisticated and faster.
Barcode scanners are coming in different types and depending upon their usage and applications they are classified into linear image scanners, area image scanners, laser scanners and CCD scanners. But basically, all barcode scanners have three parts – an illuminator, a decoder, and a converter/sensor.
When merchandise having 2D barcodes pass through a scanner, they get illuminated with red light coming from an illuminator system. The scanner’s sensor or convertor detects the reflected light and convert it into an analog signal. This signal has different levels of voltage based on reflected light’s intensity. This analog signal is now converted into a digital signal by the sensor. A decoder interprets the digital signal and sends the data to the computer attached to the barcode scanner which is then processed according to the software module.
The advancement in technology has given us QR codes which are safer, can hold more data and also tamper-proof than the traditional 2D codes. More so, any good smart-phone can scan QR codes with a help of an app.
For QR code scanners, the decoder sends the data to your mobile phone directly instead of a computer. App to scan QR codes can be downloaded on any mobile when has iOS, Android or Widow Operating System. When you open the App to scan, red light would run across the screen. The decoder and sensor then work in tandem to decode QR codes. The decoded information would be passed to your smart phone and you could see the data stored and decide your future action.
Though it looks simple, the way scanners read the reflected light is actually much more complicated than described. But it's fascinating to convert your mobile phone into a barcode scanner-compatible after a simple download of a free app.
The barcode was first patented in 1952. But, the invention of smart phones in recent times has completely changed the business dealings around the world with these smart devices replacing the bulky scanners in several retail and non-retail applications around the world.
Since scanning technology can be easily accessible, QR codes as an effective marketing will surely be around for a while. So, be a smart one to scan on the go!