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Barcode Technology In Different Fields Information Technology Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Technology
Wordcount: 5367 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Chapter 1: Introduction

Barcode systems are being used in different area fields, including tracking area, services area, retails area, security area and also advertising area.

Barcode is a machine-readable representation of data that contain information which encodes in a series of black bars of various size and white space between every two of them according to specific barcode symbologies to present the information. Barcode was replacing human typing with faster, error-free and more reliable method of gathering the data.

Most of the businesses are applying barcode system in their business transactions bringing a lot of benefits for the work such like make the work more efficiency and accuracy, reduce errors, quality control and so on. At the below will simply go through the benefits of barcode system in business environment.

Efficiency and Accuracy

Barcodes system enables the users work faster such like scanned the items was improve the data entry speed. Besides that, users can produce more accurate report or information by using barcodes.

Reduces Errors

Barcodes system can reduce the human data entry errors where the users no need entry data one by one and will save the time and make the work more consistency.

Quality Control

Users can use barcode system to keep track the item’s level or stock records and the users no need to perform the monthly or annual stock checking.

1.1 Complete Barcode System

A complete set of barcode system will include a computer, barcode software, barcode scanners, barcode printers and barcode labels (Jones, 2009). The barcode software that used to create the barcode has various types that are according to the operating system that is used on the computer. Users need to take note for the important information when choosing the barcode software, which needs to be highly specific and selected according to the application.

Most of the people will confused with barcode symbology and barcode label. Barcode symbology is a language that encoding the data into a barcode format whereas barcode label is a label that carrying a barcode. More information about barcode symbology will further be discussed at the coming pages.

There are various types of barcode printers which are dot matrix printer, ink jet printer, laser printer, thermal transfer printer and direct thermal printer. Users need to have a basic understanding and knowledge of barcode symbology and how each print technology produces them.

Besides that, many types of barcode scanners available on today market which are pen type scanner, laser scanner, fixed-mount scanner, charged coupled device (CCD) scanner and 2D scanner. Further details for the barcode scanner will discuss at coming pages.

Chapter 2: Usability for Barcode

Usability can mean as different things to different people. In the international standard, usability has been define by the ISO 9241-11 as the extent to which a product can be used by specified users to achieve specified goals with effectiveness, efficiency and satisfaction in a specified context of use.

Steven, Margaret and Jason (2009) stated that the point-of-sale (POS), mobile information gathering and security applications also are the areas of used barcode.

In advertisements, barcode was used on business cards or e-tickets and also used for referencing to web-pages. (Tobias and Oliver, 2007)

Barcode was used in various types of advertising media like commercial posters, magazines and even television or Web ads. For a wide range of topics, it not limited IT-related products. (Alexandre, 2009)

According to Sherin and Salem, (2007), most of the industrial products for automatic identification in data collection and the products control purpose have been extensive used barcode system.

Rajesh (2008) also mentioned that the application of barcode technology in a library or information center is the most successful due its accuracy, reliability and speed.

In the business environment, barcode system was widely used in different fields or area. Based on the researcher’ comments above, advertisement is the fields that mostly used the barcode system, but the author’s opinion is the industrial products field where is the most that using the barcode system. Example like supermarket or warehouse that using barcode system to checks the inventory level and also organizing different types of product.

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Chapter 3: Barcode Symbologies

Barcode symbologies or also called barcode standard which is the language that used to represent the data and information. Code can either in numeric-only or alphanumeric. There have many different types of symbologies for barcode system and used in many different business fields such as Universal Product Code (UPC), Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF), and Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) and so on. Each types of barcode are has their unique pattern of bars and spaces to represent the various characters and numbers. According to Lynn (2010), more than 300 types of barcode symbologies are currently used in the whole world.


Example of barcode attributes

Quite Zone

Quite zone is an area which allocated on the left and right of the barcode symbol and it is free of printing. The quite zone is included as part of the symbol and it is necessary for barcode symbol to be read reliable. Besides that, this area provides time for the barcode scanner to adjust to the measurement of each barcode in the message.

Start and stop characters

The start and stop characters is a unique character which located at the most left and most right of the barcode symbol. These characters provide reading instruction for the barcode scanner to let it know when to start or when to stop reading. Both characters also allow to be read bi-directionally.

Data Characters

Data characters also called as “message characters” which contain the encoded information and appear after the start character. Data characters are the information which sent to the barcode printer to print and barcode scanner will decoded the information.


Checksum also called as “check character or check digit”. The purpose of checksum is want to ensure that the barcode symbol is accurately decoded, scanned and read correctly by performing a mathematical check.


The X-dimension is the dimension of the narrowest bar or space in the barcode and usually stated in millimeters. Barcode symbol usually specify a minimum value to ensure compatibility between reading and printing equipment. Besides that, X-dimension determines barcode density which refers to the amount of information that can be decoded in the barcode in a particular space.

3.1 Usage of Barcode Symbologies


Example Universal Product Code

3.1.1 Universal Product Code (UPC)

Universal Product Code (UPC) is the most common code which is numeric-only code and content 12 digits number in the code. 2 digits are on lower left and right corner are the number system and a check digit. The first 5 lower middle digits is manufacturer number and last 5 lower middle digits is product number that will created by manufacturer to assign a unique code for each product.

Universal Product Code (UPC) is the common code basically used in retail trade and is standardization that allows a lot of organizations to construe the same data throughout the globe. (Rajesh, 2008)

Weinstein (2006) mentioned that the possibility of using a Universal Product Code (UPC) to record the home food inventory of the families which limited-resource.

Universal Product Code (UPC) that provides an efficient, accurate and comprehensive method for conduct home food inventory intended to describe the household nutrient supply. (Byrd and Carl, 2010)

Through the researched above, although home food inventory field is widely using the Universal Product Code (UPC), but the tracking retail field is the area which more common and widely been used because Universal Product Code (UPC) is a small barcode symbol and is suit in this field.

Example Code Interleaved 2 0f 5

3.1.2 Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF)

Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) is a code that support numeric-only and it can encodes two digits, one is in the bars and one is in space. This code only can encode any even number of the digits and if the number of digit is odd, users need to add a leading zero.

Brian (2009) mentioned that the warehousing application and production field have relied on Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF)

Besides that, Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) is one of the codes that are normally used in the industry field and only can encode number. (Aarnisalo, et. al., 2007)

Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) is a code that encodes packaging level and the trade number is the most common approach using in warehouses. (Hiroko, et al., 2010)

According the report of Jensen (2007), Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) is common used in shipping cartons.

Based on the researched above, inventories and warehouses field are popular using Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF). As author know that, Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF) is a symbology which very compact and only record number to represent the data and information. Thus, this code also used in many fields such as shipping industrial, airline ticketing, medical field and so on.

3.1.3 Code 39 (Code 3 of 9)

Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) is one of the common barcode use in nowadays and it can support both numbers and characters. This code is a special character because an asterisk (*) which is used on beginning and end of the code will created automatically and will not be included in the input data.

Wheeler (2010) mentioned that Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) is the most popular code and is widely used in health field, manufacturing field and even in military field.

Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) is one of the oldest symbologies that widely used in industry. (Dempsey, 2006)

Hiroko, et al., (2010) stated that Code 39 is mandated for some automotive industries and also in industry sector. Besides that, for product identification at all levels packaging that can be created using Code 39 as a unique product number.

Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) is suitable for the automotive industry but usually this code not recommended use in slab mill. (Walt Arth and Anderson, 2009)

As suggested in the above literature, Dempsey (2006), Hiroko, et al., (2010) and Walt Arth and Anderson (2009) have the same evaluation for Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) which is numerous used in industry field, especially in automotive industry. Because of this code can consists simple and reliable reading result, therefore it was the most popular code and can be found on the market today. However, Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) not only use in industry field, it also support on medical, manufacturing field and military field as Wheeler (2010) mentioned above.

3.1.4 Code 128

Code 128 can support all alphanumeric and numeric only and as Wheeler (2010) stated that, it has 106 different bar and space pattern and each of the pattern can have one of three different meanings. Code 128 becomes more and more popular compare to others and it was heavily used in today for all the business fields.

Dempsey (2006) mentioned that Code 128 is popular because it is one of the densest linear symbologies and it was used for identifying blood products.

Code 128 can encode alphanumeric characters and is common used in the shipping industry. (Maria and Ramon, 2010)

Based on the report of Brian (2009), retail and airline tickets area usually use Code 128 for their business operation.

Moreover, Jerry (2005) stated that the shipping industry was widely using Code 128 because it is a compact symbology.

In conclusion, beside the researched above, Code 128 can used in many fields such like shipping industry, retail and airline ticket and so on because Code 128 was a most compact code compare to Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) and Interleaved 2 of 5 (ITF). Therefore, as author opinion, Code 128 may is one of the best choice for the barcode users because Code 128 can support all alphanumeric and numeric only.

3.1.5 Differences between 1D Barcode Technology and 2D Barcode Technology

1D barcode or also called as “linear barcode” is encode data in one-dimension means horizontally only. This kind of barcode is normally seen in today market such as Code 128, Code 39 (Code 3 of 9) and so on. It already discussed at previous topic. Two-dimensional barcode (2D barcode) also called as “area barcode” which encode data in horizontally and vertically and it is an advanced type of barcode which can store more data and contain more details information compare with 1D barcode. At the below table will further explain the differences between 1D barcode and 2D barcode.

1D barcode only can store small amount of data and it usually contains about 30 characters. (Michelle, 2007) Besides that, 1D barcode also can only encode the data information in numbers and English characters. However, 2D barcode is totally different than 1D barcode because 2D barcode can store the entire database and can contain at least 2,000 characters. (Michelle, 2007) 2D barcode also can encode many type of data information such as URL, SMS, email address and even though different type languages like Chinese or Japanese. (Nok, 2009)

Additional, one of the weaknesses of 1D barcode is cannot be scanned and decoding data if poorly printed or damaged. But, because of 2D barcode consist of an error correction formula, so that 2D barcode can be scanned and decoding data although the barcode is damaged. (Rodnay, 2010)

From the above literature, features of 2D barcode are stronger than 1D barcode. 2D barcode can bring a lot of benefits for an organization. Based on the statement of Michelle (2007), although the deploy costs of 2D barcode are more expensive, but still cheaper than RFID technology. In conclusion, 1D barcode still is the ideal choice because this barcodes are very common in the world and easy to print. The major issues of 2D barcode are the 2D barcode scanners are much more expensive than 1D barcode scanners and the costs for print a 2D barcode is not that cheaper.

Chapter 4: Barcode Scanner

Barcode scanner is a common used input device and it also called as “barcode reader” which consists of a light source, photo conductor and a lens. Barcode scanner is integrated with a decoder to decode the barcode and all the information on barcode will show to the computer screen and it consists of many types which including pen type scanner, fixed-mount scanner, omnidirectional scanner, laser scanner, CCD scanner and so on. Other than that, barcode scanner normally used in the areas which consist of large number of stock such like in grocery store, library, industrial and so on.

Mostly the success of barcode system in an organization is depending on which equipment are choosing. By choosing a proper barcode scanner must matched to the application and types of barcode symbologies being used in order to achieve accuracy, speed, reliability and make the work successful.

Ayaz (2010) was mentioned that by using the barcode scanners can make the task of reading information on items ten time fasters than a person entering information by hand. Thus, users should choosing a suitable barcode scanner which match with their business process and operation.

Besides that, various types of barcode scanners was uses in various fields such like retail, warehouse, healthcare, distribution, security purpose and so on. Therefore, at the below will discuss about the major types of barcode scanners characteristic and suitable uses in which fields.

4.1 Barcode Scanner Types


Example Pen Type Scanner

4.1.1 Pen Type Scanner

Pen type scanner also called as “wand type scanner” and it outlook alike a pen shaped. It consists of a light of source and a photodiode that are placed at the top of a pen. Besides that, prices of pen type scanner are a tenth of laser scanner prices and about a fifth of CCD scanner prices. (Brule, 2010) But the weakness of pen type scanner is it must position correctly while scanning the barcode then only can read successfully.

Follow the statement of Windham (2010) was stated that for those require running around in large warehouse or large store, use pen type scanner is more convenient because it can fit in pocket and also easy to carry.

Davek (2009) mentioned that pen type scanner still quite common used in libraries field.

Other than that, Robinson (2010) mentioned that pen type scanner is easy to use and popular used at grocery store because the users can scan the small or medium sized items as quickly as possible.

Moreover, Pen type scanner is much easier use in sales order entry catalog. (Michelle, 2005)

According to the researched above, it can conclude that pen type scanner was used in a lot of fields because of it less expensive and easy to use. But for the author’s opinion, pen type scanner is suitable use in small business environment which no need scan items frequently.


Example Laser Scanner

4.1.2 Laser Scanner

Laser scanner is the most popular and latest barcode scanner used in nowadays market and it use laser beam as a light of source to scan across the barcode. The brightness and sharpness of laser scanner will offer greater accurately and visibility when scan a barcode and it suitable for long range and high density scanning.

Laser Scanner is the best choice for the patient care field because it will minimize the need to reposition the patients while scanning an identification tag which wear on patient’s hand. (Brandon, 2005)

Rodney (2010) was mentioned that the laser scanner is the most popular scanning technology in the industry because it available used in long range or high density scanning.

Based to the report of Brule (2010) was stated that the laser scanner also widely used in grocery stores where the cashier used the scanner and scan the items.

Besides that, Thomas (2010) mentioned the laser scanner is very popular used in retail and healthcare industrial because it can read any angel.

In conclusion, laser scanner is one of the popular barcode scanners which widely used in many fields especially in healthcare fields. However, as the author’s opinion, mostly the grocery stores or supermarket such like Giant, Carrefour, and Tesco are used the laser scanner in their cashiers.

C:UsersJayDesktopimages CCD.jpg

Example CCD (Charge Couple Device) Scanner

4.1.3 Charge Coupled Device (CCD) Scanner

It also called as “linear imager scanner” which consists of an array of tiny light sensors that placed at the top of the scanner. Furthermore, Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner can read poorly or damaged printed barcodes and also can read the barcodes under plastic film or covering. However, based on the report of Jones (2010), there is a statement which mentioned that the CCD scanner cost is lower than pen type scanner where already refute the point of view of Brule (2010).

Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner consists of an array of small sensors which placed at the top of scanner and it was widely used in sales applications. (Aarti, 2010) Besides, Jhonson (2007) also stated that Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner is frequently used in retail sales because of it has a better read range compare than pen type scanner

Moreover, Thomas (2010) was mentioned that the Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner is the ideal for office use because of it compact size and lightweight.

Besides, from the report of Davies (2009), the magnetic strip on the back of credit or debit card that can read by Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner. Other than that, employee shift tracking and security purpose fields also used Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner to run its task.

Based on the above literature, Charge coupled device (CCD) scanner was popular used in many fields because of it can read the barcode in worst environment. Besides that, not all the CCD scanner are expensive than pen type scanner and based on author’s opinion, CCD scanner will major use in sales application fields because of it can read poor and damage printed barcode.

C:UsersJayDesktop2D imaging scanner.jpg

Example 2D Image Scanner

4.1.4 Two-Dimensional Image Scanner

Two-Dimensional (2D) image scanner is the latest barcode scanner and it also called as “camera based scanner”. 2D image scanner is the advanced digital image processing techniques which can capture and read both 1D and 2D barcode. It contains a small digital camera in the scanner and can directly capture the image of the barcode. Other than that, 2D image scanner is uses the same technology with CCD scanner, the different is 2D image scanner consist of hundreds of light sensors in two dimensional arrays.

According to the report of Windham (2010) was mentioned that the 2D image scanner is used in wholesale or retail distribution.

Besides that, 2D image scanner offers same speed and accuracy than others types barcode scanners and it is an ideal of healthcare, shipping field, military and also manufacturing fields. (Plano, 2010)

Moreover, Smith (2010) stated that the medical fields especially medical professionals are used the 2D scanner for accuracy and integrity of medical records.

In conclusion, based on the research above, 2D scanner is used in many fields especially in healthcare or medical fields. Therefore, as author’s opinion, 2D scanner is suitable use in the fields which emphasis on security or in huge company which needed speedy work processes because 2D scanner can scan more secure barcode symbology and will increase the data accuracy compare to other types barcode scanners.

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Chapter 5: Compare Barcode system with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

Before compare barcode system with RFID, let’s simply go through about what is RFID. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) is an automatic identification method and it does like barcode system require using line of sight for communication, RFID was using wireless, which is radio wave to communication between the RFID reader and the small chips tag.

The diagram at below is show about how the RFID work. The RFID reader will launches the radio signal to active the tag to read and write data on it. Besides that, RFID reader also will decode the tag and the data which encode in the tag will transmit to the computer for processing.


Barcode system and RFID that have the same technology it called auto identification that is used to identify objects, humans or animals. Both of them are perform the data collection technology to reduce the human errors and make the work more efficiency. Wyld (2006) mentioned that even thought the barcode system and RFID are from the same technology family, but they have many differentials.

At the below will discuss about the differences between barcode system and RFID such like different in costs, environment consideration, and security and so on.

5.1 Costs

Majority users will concern about the costs of barcode system or RFID. It is because they may affect the revenue and productivity of the company or organization.

McCathie (2010) stated that the cost of the barcode is cheaper than RFID, although the costs of RFID are expected to drop significantly.

Barcode are typically cheaper than RFID even in high quantity. (Aguilar, van der Putten and Maguire, 2007)

Moreover, RFID was high cost compare with barcode system, only when the RFID cost drop to acceptable level, it may replace the existing barcode system. (Jung-Yin Chein, et. al. 2006)

From the report of Bellian (2009), barcode or RFID which one will costs more is depend on the operation and processes of the work.

However, according to the report of Roberti (2009) was mentioned that when collection the data information needed, barcode would costs more than RFID because barcode need to maintain high inventory accuracy like more labors are needed to scanning the barcode compare with RFID where already refute the point of view of McCathie (2010), Aguilar, van der Putten and Maguire (2007) and Jung-Yin Chein, et. al. (2006)

In the business environment, mostly all the people will common say that the barcode are cheaper than RFID like the researchd above. But whether barcode or RFID are expensive, it is depend on the work operation and the labor needed. Example for the work which is only use for item-level identification or the liquids and metals are part of the equation in process manufacturing, barcode is the better solution. Otherwise, for the bulk or the item on a pallet, RFID is the better solution because it can eliminate the need of open and scan one by one for those the each item in a pallet.

5.2 Privacy and Security

Privacy and security protection of data is the biggest concern of barcode system or RFID. Every barcode system or RFID should be secure enough to be used to prevent certain important private and confidential data leakages.

Modrak and Knuth (2008) mentioned that RFID are more difficult to replicate than barcodes because it electronic is more complex.

RFID have encryption or password protection for the data and it’s more difficult to duplicate compare with barcodes where it can be easily copied. (Bellian, 2010)

Through the report of Aguilar, van der Putten and Maguire (2007), the security for barcode will more weak because although the data on the barcode could be encrypted, but when using commercial tools, there is no protection to prevent the barcode data from being copied. For the RFID, it allow more complex forms of data protection and will more difficult to duplicate compare with barcode.

Other than that, Barcode can be duplicated and forged compare to RFID, it can be encrypted. (Jung-Yin Chein, et. al. 2006)

According to the researched above, RFID are more secure and safety than barcodes because it not easy to duplicate or copy and the data form are more complex to create than barcodes. For using either is barcodes or RFID, it is depend on how important of the item and the data whether privacy or not. If just a normal item and not that important such like some inventory products, barcode is the better solution. But if the item is very important like human or animal privacy details or the data that is private and confidential, RFID is better solution because it more secures compare with barcodes.

5.3 Capability

Most of the users are based on the suitability and limitations of barcode system or RFID to gain more knowledge and understanding to compare that which one is available to use in their working environment and operation.

According the report of Stephan (2006), barcodes are limited space which typically only simple identifiers and which can read-only. But for RFID, which can substantial amount of data storage, have unique identifiers and can read and rewrite.

Once printed, barcode cannot be modified and need to re-printed for new information. But for RFID, it has re-writeable functionality to be written multiple times and allows information to be modified. Besides that, barcodes are only can scanned one at a time but RFID can be scanned continuously up to hundred RFID per time. (Aguilar, van der Putten and Maguire, 2007)

For the structure, RFID are unbreakable because it is in firmly encapsulated compare to barcodes, it is paper quality and easily broken. Furthermore, RFID have a large data storage space but barcode only have small. (Jung-Yin Chein, et. al. 2006)

Bellian (2010) mentioned that the memory capabilities of barcodes is static, it can read-only and consist of limited data capacity. Compare to barcodes, the memory capabilities of RFID is dynamic, it consists of high capacity that can read, write, update and others actions.

In conclusion, the capability of RFID is better than barcodes in many ways such like capacity or data storage space, read rates, re-write property and so on. As a user may need a better capability that will make their work operation more efficiency and accuracy, RFID is the solution. But, the most important for choosing a better solution is not only depend the capability, still have a lot of ways need to consider such as company budget, work processes and operation requirement, item of use and so on.

5.4 Environmental Interference

Environment interference also is one of the major concerns where the barcode system or RFID in the environment which full of interference, it may affect the work efficiency and accuracy. Users need to make sure their working environment is suitable for barcode or RFID.

(Jung-Yin Chein, et. al. 2006) was mentioned that barcodes will easily interfere by harsh environment than RFID which not that easy been affected.

Barcodes will easy affected in the dirt environment compare with RFID which are low environmental susceptibility. (Modrak and Knuth, 2008)

According to Bellian (2010), obstruction from dirty or ripped may affected the barcodes that cannot be scanned. Furthermore, RFID will be interfering by metal and liquids which will interfere with some frequencies.

Barcodes must be relatively clean to make scanning easy. Harsh environment such as fog, dirt and rain will totally affected the barcode scanned. Compare to barcodes, RFID ability to withstand harsh environments, it can be read through almost all non-metallic materials and survive in very high temperature and harsh demands. (McCathie, 2010)

From on the researched above, barcode and RFID have their environmental susceptibility which needs the users to prevent it. Example like as we know that, every time when an item which take out from fridge, sure will appear steam that make the barcode hard to be scanned by the reader. Besides that, RFID also will faced this issue where have metal and liquids interference and cause it difficult to be detected. Therefore, whether is using barcodes or RFID, it is depend on used of places and the solution that can reduce the issue to minimize and won’t bring huge affect to the business operation.

Chapter 6: Conclusion

Barcode system is a common and popular technology which was widely used in many different fields and was help a lot of companies to increase their business process and productivity.

Other than that, barcode symbology was consists of many different types of symbologies and the most popular is Universal Product Code (UPC) which been used in different fields. But, author was suggest the users choosing Code 128 because it support all alphanumeric and numeric only which already mentioned at above discussion.

Besides that, barcode scanner also consists of various types. By choosing a suitable barcode scanner is depend on the users use in what environment. Author suggests that if the user only use in small business, pen type scanner is a better solution and if the user use in the business environment which focuses on security, 2D scanner is a better solution. But, precondition is the user also using 2D barcode symbology.

At last, although the RFID features are more advanced and strength than barcode system, but it still


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