Barcode-reading technologies

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March 11, 2013

Barcodes play a significant role in our lives and modern civilisation. They are almost so important that they go unnoticed. Once you begin to think about barcodes, you will notice them everywhere, from trips out shopping and working around town, to your place of work and flicking through a magazine. Here are some of the many uses for barcodes.

Retail check-out

Perhaps the most well recognised way to use barcode technology is at supermarkets and other shops. Shops assistants will scan your items over a barcode receiver, which then adds up the total of all of the items via a computerised cash register, to make the whole process a lot quicker and more straightforward. Self-scan checkouts also use this technology, once again making the whole process quicker by cutting out the need for as many cashiers and allowing quicker throughput.

Stop & Shop now has these barcode readers to carry wih you as you shop, mark the items you’ve put on your cart, and expedite the check out. 

Stock control

Barcodes are not just used for the front of house and checking out operations though, as many businesses that keep a large quantity of stock can control this via barcodes. If there are crates of different products, a simple barcode can link users to all of the information that they would need, as well as helping to find out if any stock goes missing and food products that are going out of date.


Airport checking in, passport control and baggage handling

Although to many people the process of checking in and out of an airport is a laborious one, the way we use airports is dramatically sped up through barcode technology. Consider your last visit to the airport – every step of the journey from checking in, handing over your baggage, boarding your flight and having your passport checked is made possible through barcode technology.

Check In Kiosks in airports

Check In Kiosks in airports

 Time keeping

Barcode scanners are a useful way of employees clocking in and out. Before, a large company would use various methods to monitor employees coming in and out of work, such as pieces of paper, clipping cards and putting personal cards into pigeon holes or slots on a wall. Barcodes make this much easier and simplified. An employee can now just swipe their card in front of small card-reading machines or barcode scanners, which log their details in a matter of seconds.


One of the most recent ways of using barcodes takes advantage of the fact that much of the population is now equipped with a smartphone at all times. Marketers and designers now often implant a barcode or QR code into an advert – this could be a poster, on the television or in print, and consumers simply scan it into their phone to be taken to a website or video that contains more information. Business men and women also often keep a QR code on the back of their business card, for a quick link their personal or company website.


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