What is a barcode scanner?
Barcode scanner was invented by two graduate students from the
Harvard university graduate school. The first successful barcode scan occurred
in a supermarket on June 26, 1974. Read more about the History of Barcode scanners
A barcode scanner is an input device that captures and reads information
stored in a barcode. The sensor of the barcode scanner detects the reflected
light and generates and analogue signal. Then the convertor changes the analogue
signal to a digital signal which is then fed to a decoder. The decoder
interprets the digital signal and validates the data which is then converted
into text and sends it to the computer or laptop by connecting the scanner to a
computer via a USB/ Serial port, keyboard port or an interface device called a
The idea of using a barcode scanner was to speed up the checkout
process; it is now a fundamental part of business that can be found in every
Different types of barcode scanners
There are several types of barcode scanners with a wide variety of
features and benefits designed to suit different environments, applications and
General Purpose Scanners - General purpose scanners are are the most common type of barcode scanners available today and are designed for small to medium size businesses. They are held in the hand of the user while scanning and are designed with a handgun with a grip. They come in both corded and cordless forms and has a trigger to capture the barcode. General purpose scanners are ideal for retail, enterprise, education and office
environments. There’s a wide variety of 1D, 2D general purpose barcode scanners
available from industry leading brands such as Zebra, Symbol, Motorola,
Datalogic and Denso.
On-Counter barcode scanners -They are a type of presentation scanner that sits on the counter
to facilitate easy scanning. Users do not have to hold the scanner in hand
during operation. They read barcodes using sensors that are triggered when
items are passed in front of it. They have a wide reading area that makes it easy for users to scan multiple items. Ideal for a retail environment.
- In counter scanners are not only scanners but also a weight scale
solution. They are mounted into the counter top and are mainly designed for
retail and grocery environment where fast and efficient scanning and weighing
of items is required. In-counter scanners have a large scanning area which
makes it easy and quick to scan an item.
Cordless barcode scanners - Cordless barcode scanners consist of the barcode scanner and the base station. The base station is attached to a computer or a laptop via a USB, serial or other connection cable. These are one of the most cost effective portable barcode scanners and are ideal for stock take. Some wireless scanners can be programmed to store data when used far from the base station, and can transmits barcodes to the PC when the barcode scanner is within range. It’s also the best fit for scanning heavy bulky items that are difficult to place on the counter.
Bluetooth barcode scanners - Bluetooth barcode scanners function similar to cordless scanners except they communicate to the base station or the computer via Bluetooth. They can even be paired to your iPhone, iPad, Android phone or tablet, or a Windows tablet or PC. Zebra, Symbol, Motorola, Honeywell and Datalogic are the industry leading manufacturers of Bluetooth barcode scanners on the market.
- This type of barcode scanners is small, lightweight durable and
are the best fit for highly mobile workers. They are typically worn on arm, hand
or finger which allow users to freely use their hands for other tasks. Wearable
barcode scanners are available in both 1D and 2D barcode scanning technology
and are ideal for warehouses and mobile point of sales.
Healthcare Barcode Scanners - Healthcare
Scanners have an intuitive and ergonomic design and are specially designed for
healthcare sector. They are made with antimicrobial material and are
disinfected ready to withstand daily cleaning with harsh chemical solutions to
kill germs and bacteria. They enable hospitals to automate data capture,
improve data accuracy, increase productivity and streamline everyday processes.
They can be used for a range of healthcare needs such as administering of
bedside medication, Administration, Pharmacy, Laboratory, Blood transfusion
verification, specimen collection etc.
Rugged Barcode Scanners - Rugged
scanners are durable, reliable, light weight and are built to tolerate heavy
use and harsh conditions such as temperature variance, dust and moisture and
weather conditions. These types of barcode scanners are designed for
manufacturing, warehouse, transportation industries as they deliver superior
scanning performance on virtually any barcode in any condition and are designed
for durability in challenging environments.
Mobile Computers - Mobile
Computers are different to a typical barcode scanner. They combine the
functionality of a PC and a barcode scanner into a single device. Mobile
computers provide more processing power than traditional barcode scanners and store
data in internal memory. They are ideal for workplaces where mobility is needed
such as field services and managing inventory.
It is important to know which Barcode scanner is the most suitable
for your needs, business environment and is best suited for your budget. They
can provide tremendous improvements in productivity, improve processes and save
time and money. Consider factors such as the frequency of the scans, the
distance from which the scanning will be performed and how you want it to be
connected. With so many options and types available today, choosing a barcode
scanner that is a perfect fit for your business is an easy process that will
make life easier in your business.