Introduction to Barcode Reading

A barcode consists of a series of parallel black and white bar with spaces of varying width, which is a representative of data in a visual, machine-readable form. Today, barcodes are mostly used in closed distribution chains, for the administration of logistics processes.

The first barcode was invented by Norman J Woodland in year 1948. He was inspired by the dots and dashes of Morse code and came up with a similar method to simplify inventory management and customer check-outs. Later, Norman J Woodland filed a patent for this solution with his partner, Bernard Silver in the year of 1952.

Types of Barcodes

      1. 1D Barcode
1D barcodes, better known as linear codes, are commonly used on consumer goods to store product information using variable-width lines and spaces to encode data. 1D barcodes can be scanned by camera-based imaging scanners or laser scanners.

      2. 2D Barcode
2D barcodes are the next phase in barcode technology. It uses patterns of squares, dots and shapes to encrypt information. As these datas can be encoded vertically and horizontally, 2D barcodes are able to store more information than 1D barcodes, like images, product descriptions and website addresses. 2D barcodes can be scanned by camera-based imaging scanners.

The Benefits of Using Barcode

      1. Improve Accuracy
Barcodes eliminate human errors and provides more accurate and reliable data.

      2. Reduce Employee Training Time
Barcode systems are easy to use and only need minutes to gain familiarity with hand-held scanners for barcode reading.

      3. Inventory Control
Barcode reader makes it easier to control the overall inventory status. Since the information is scanned directly into a computer, fast and reliable data can be calculated through stock inventory instantly.

      4. Better Data
Barcodes can be customized when needed and that helps to make more informed decisions with the provided information.

What is a Barcode Reader?

A barcode reader is a device that captures and decodes information contained by a barcode before transmitting the data to a computer, which in turn, shows instant output of accurate information to help streamline any operations.

There are two types of barcode readers: laser scanner and camera-based imaging scanner.

      1. Laser Scanner
Laser scanner sweeps a laser back and forth across a barcode to capture and decode the information. It can perform up to 1,000 scans per second and eliminates the possibility of human errors. Besides this, laser scanner also can read a barcode from 15 cm to 60 cm away.

      2. Camera-based Imaging Scanner
Camera-based imaging scanner uses a camera to capture an image of a barcode, then uses the image processing technique to decode the barcodes.  Camera-based imaging scanners can read 2D codes, and capture images of codes for data analysis and barcode quality check.


Barcodes are not only the universal symbol for purchasable products, but are also used to track and trace logistics, identify patients in hospitals, validate prescriptions for patients, exchange contact information, automate manufacturing processes and much more.

Barcodes are simplistic, thus, using them is the best and most effective way for businesses to store data and receive fast and accurate item verifications or full traceability of inventory status. With the right barcode inventory system, your business and work will most definitely stay efficient, organized and error-free.