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Chapter 1. Where barcodes are used

Chapter 1. Where barcodes are used

The use of barcode technology has proven itself for decades and continues to see adoption growth. It’s proven beneficial for:

  • Conducting and managing data entry
  • Asset, inventory, and information tracking
  • Improving operational efficiency
  • Reducing human and data errors

More and more applications and systems managers seek to use barcodes. However, once you head into choosing a barcode, you might be surprised to uncover how many barcode types exist on the market. Also, while barcodes are widely used for their speed and efficiency, there are many potential technical obstacles and issues that can arise to create bottlenecks and inefficiencies. If you can cover critical basics when implementing barcode technology, you’ll set yourself on a desirable path to benefit from them.

Where Barcodes are Used

Barcodes are used in countless applications across a myriad of scenarios from accounting/finance, government, healthcare, industrial, inventory, retail, transportation, and so on. Here are a few quick real-world examples.


A large worldwide non-profit, German Red Cross wanted a barcode scanning tool to use in accounting to increase productivity by automating certain tasks. They wanted to be able to start the tool, use it to read data from a barcode, and automatically rename associated PDF files the same as the barcode number. Initial research started with how to build the tool internally. The team quickly realized creating a barcode scanning application from scratch would be immensely time-consuming, resource prohibitive, and costly. Today, the barcode addition is used to speed the processing of invoices and related payments. 5-DRK


Barcodes are widely used in healthcare for dispensing medication and authenticating for security, specimen samples, and more. Barcodes can also be used to track devices given to a patient. This can work both ways. You can track a device to each patient it was given to and you can track who administered it. For the administrator, this can include a doctor, nurse or other staff. For tracking where the device came from, this can include suppliers or manufacturers. These trails in an EHR are all helpful in administering patient care or for managing device vendors and their transactions with you. 6-software Dev shop


Some stores have evolved their barcode system by also building and integrating self-checkout apps. In these scenarios, customers can make purchases using their mobile phones while they are in a store. They can simply scan barcodes for product information and to make a purchase. Product information can be as rich as desired, to include information such as a description, unit price, place of origin, and more. This scan setup is commonly accomplished by using a barcode software development kit (SDK) to enable barcode scanning via smartphones. By allowing customers to self-add products to a virtual shopping cart while shopping in an aisle, retailers can eliminate making customers stand in line with their products at a physical checkout. For retailers, this can also enable rich data capture for more targeted marketing. Customer shopping behaviors can be used to better optimize experiences. This can include product-based experiences, such as offering discounts for future purchases on previously purchased products. It can also include time-based marketing, such as targeting email newsletters or offers during a time a customer is more likely to visit a store. free online document scan

This post is a part of the series: Best Practices for Maximizing Barcode Reader Technology.

Chapter 01 Where are barcodes used

Chapter 02 Character set encoded in barcodes

Chapter 03 Barcode scanning algorithm: localization and decode

Chapter 04 Developer tip: improve barcode recognition rates

Chapter 05 Developer tip: improve barcode recognition speed

Chapter 06 Technical considerations when choosing a barcode SDK

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