Our experience of the scanning market is that sales of array imaging scanners – which can read both 1D and 2D barcodes – are gathering pace. It’s an observation in line with stats from analyst firm VDC, which says that, by 2018, 60% of all the money spent on handheld scanners will be used on imagers.
A key driver behind this momentum is the fact that more companies are starting to use 2D codes on packaging because they can hold more information. This added versatility means codes can be used in new ways. For example, FMCG companies are creating innovative marketing campaigns through 2D symbols, while food producers can include much more data on codes – such as when produce was picked, its best before date and handling advice for transit (e.g. the ideal temperature of a refrigerated vehicle).
But, aside from the growing prominence of 2D codes themselves, there are other reasons why the future of data capture is based around array imaging technology.
FIVE REASONS TO MOVE TO DIGITAL IMAGERS:
- IMAGERS ARE VERSATILE: Array imagers can read pretty much any code, such as 1D UPC codes and GS1 and 2D code types – from QR codes, to PDF417 codes and Datamatrix symbols. The great thing about an imager is that it can read all types of barcode on a large variety of surfaces, from paper to screens. They can also read certain Optical Character Recognition text that’s used on passports, ID cards and money. So you can be sure that, with an imager, you can handle all your data capture needs in a single device.
- WORK NATURALLY AND QUICKLY: As the name suggests, linear 1D scanners (such as laser or linear imager based scanners) need to be lined up perpendicularly to a code. That’s OK where things are in easy reach. But items that are piled on top of one another, or loaded by a customer into their trolley at the supermarket checkout, aren’t easy to get to. Scanning them with a 1D scanner can be awkward and delay workflows. Array imagers bypass this problem because they can scan omnidirectionally, so your users just need to point their device in the approximate direction of the code. What’s more, array imagers can capture any number of codes in their field of vision, or continually capture codes until you release the trigger. In intensive scanning environments (e.g. a warehouse), a huge amount of time can be saved, as one scan of a label containing multiple barcodes can be decoded in a single action. What’s more you can get the scanner to ignore codes that you don’t want sent to your system.
- FIRST TIME SCAN ON DAMAGED CODES: Barcodes can be easily damaged in transit, with 1D scanners often failing to read faint or damaged codes. However, array imagers use what’s essentially camera technology to take a photo of the complete code and apply advanced algorithms to decode the data. While the technology cannot record data from badly damaged labels, it can compensate for impaired codes (e.g. scratched or faint) for more successful reads, accurate data capture and seamless workflows.
- SCAN NEAR, SCAN FAR: Our latest rugged scanners for the warehouse, the DS3600 range, include an omnidirectional extended range (ER) model. It enables your teams to point the scanner in the approximate direction of a code – e.g. an item on the top shelf – and it will home in on and capture the code, at up to 24 metres away (depending on size of code). As it can scan at short range, too, it can replace several devices that may be used in your warehouse to manage a range of scanning applications.
- DO MORE: With digital array imagers, you get more bang for your buck. As well as recording pretty much any type of code, imagers can be used to capture photos, record signatures and automatically capture and populate forms – opening up new business processes and efficiencies that cannot be supported by traditional laser or linear based scanners.
For more information on the benefits of array imagers, please click here.
 VDC Research, The Global Market for Handheld Scanners (Part of the Strategic Insights 2014 Barcode Solutions Research Program)