Barcode Technology Still Delivers Efficiencies for Government

Los Angeles Bar Association

Last Updated on 2020-12-08

Dynamsoft co-authored an article that was published by GCN on Jun 27, 2017

Barcode technology has been around for some time, but government organizations are still benefiting from its use. Some applications come easily to mind; barcodes are common on agency ID cards and are frequently used for access control to a facility. They can be used for tracking assets and tagging evidence in investigations.

In Pennsylvania, the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department scans the barcodes on drivers’ licenses and registration cards into an app that populates citation forms, allows officers to print citations in their vehicles and sends the record of the citation to the courts. Officers noticed a significant increase in citation accuracy, in addition to spending less time writing up each citation. The Vancouver Police Department uses barcodes for inventory and tracking more than 5,000 assets worth more than $3 million, which substantially decreases the amount of lost funds and equipment. The system also helped the department meet city and state auditor guidelines that mandated documentation for asset transfers and disposal.

Before implementing a barcode solution, however, agencies should understand what they’re getting into. There are two major barcode types. A 1D barcode is a one-dimensional linear barcode made up of vertical lines with varied widths and specific gaps forming a pattern. 2D barcodes encode data in square or rectangular patterns and can represent more data per unit area and support a bigger character set than 1D barcodes. The downside to 2D codes is that they require more complex scanning devices.

Selecting the appropriate barcode depends on what type of information needs to encoded. A 1D barcode’s limited character set works well for asset tracking, while a 2D barcode would be more suited to marketing.

The Los Angeles County Bar Association opted to use 1D barcodes for tracking IT assets such as computers, switches, monitors, phones and more to help with accounting and IT troubleshooting. Each IT device was assigned a unique identifier that can be read with a barcode scanner.

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