Friday, January 14, 2011

Barcodes - bigger than beans

Barcodes are on virtually every product we own, from cans of beans and iPhone boxes to airport boarding passes. Even look in hidden parts of your car like door sills and you'll even find them there. They are everywhere, so we ignore them. But they are everywhere for a reason. For a business to organize information, the humble barcode is invaluable. 

With the advent of the 2-D barcodes such as QR code and Data Matrix, we have seen people start to embed carefully encoded URLs, which will allow your smart phone barcode app to take you to an individual web page. Incredible for marketing. Equally incredible for business information.

The examples in the image show exactly what I mean. Starting at the bottom image, the lowest common denominator is a simple URL. Point your smart phone app at that, and it will take you to a very special web page. Marketing at its best! 

In the middle we have a UID sticker, a printable label that describes all the relevant details of an imaginary aircraft component, allowing the supply chain for aircraft parts to be managed more carefully. Scan this and you'll instantly know what this part claims to be, and where it came from. Then at the top, let's manage people in the same way. The secure visitor's pass goes one better than the old sign-in book on reception desks in traditional offices. Have a person greeting visitors enter their information, capture a photo with a webcam and click GO to print the visitor's badge. Better yet, the next time the person visits the information is already in the system (unless they want a new photo with the much improved hairstyle!)

There are many ways, outside of just scanning stuff in the supermarket that barcodes allow businesses to run more efficiently and control their products and information (check your electricity bill, I bet it has a barcode on it). We have many ideas from experience (both ours and the 120 customers already using Consected Barcode Templates). Many of which of these ideas we have already, or are planning to put into ready to use templates. If you have something you need, just let us know.

A post from the Improving It blog
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