Barcodes may not come across as the most exciting technology in the world, but they have had a transformative impact on a wide range of industries. Today, with businesses having better and more sophisticated systems for mobile data collection, barcodes are becoming more valuable than ever.
The Growing Barcode Market
According to a study from Transparency Market Research, barcode technology is gaining a growing role in a variety of markets, but particularly in sectors in which organizations want to eliminate manual data entry, reduce repetitive tasks, get rid of paper logs and increase data accuracy. Capabilities that are (now) having a sweeping impact on the market's growth include real-time data collection functionality while allowing for cost efficiency.
The e-commerce industry is among the sectors having the most sweeping impact on the barcode technology sector. The study found that the meteoric rise of the e-commerce sector is driving growth, and businesses are adopting barcoding because it helps them gain greater production cost visibility, improve dispatch functionality and become more responsive to customer demands.
While barcoding is clearly gaining momentum across a wide range of industries, improved use cases for the solution are still developing. In particular, advances in how employees scan barcodes are creating new expectations for efficiency, safety and cost effectiveness.
Glimpsing the Future of Barcodes
Augmented reality is beginning to have a sweeping impact on how organizations gather data from barcodes and record it in backend systems. An IT Pro Portal report went so far as to say that augmented and virtual reality systems are beginning to achieve mainstream use in sectors such as the supply chain.
This may be a bullish projection, but the logic behind it is straightforward: Augmented reality builds on the benefits of voice picking by leveraging a combination of voice and barcoding scanning to give users hands-free access to digital technologies.
Voice picking allows users to use natural language to speak into a headset and have the system identify commands. This lets them track inventory tasks in real time without having to manually document each step they take by hand. A barcode scanner isn't necessary - though some voice picking systems use RFID technologies, an advanced form of wireless barcoding - to support voice commands.
Augmented reality takes this to another level by putting traditional barcode scanning functionality and a microphone into a set of glasses that can display data within a user's field of view. This allows for traditional barcode scans, RFID technology or simple voice picking, all while leaving users with their hands free so they can focus on proper, safe lifting techniques.
In the warehouse sector, every small efficiency gain can eventually add up to major costs savings and production improvements. Barcode technology kicked this process off when they ushered in an era of serialization in year's past, but the technology around barcodes - not to mention the barcodes themselves - continue to evolve in the ever-changing supply chain sector.
At RFgen, we're among the leaders driving innovation in mobile data collection. With that in mind, contact us if you want to learn more about how we can help you mobilize your supply chain.