Are We Getting Closer to a Scanner-less World?

by Richa Gupta | 04/01/2014

Scandit, a mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor headquartered in Zurich, has developed a platform that enables smartphones and other consumer mobile devices to facilitate enterprise-grade barcode scanning. The performance level of applications developed on Scandit is comparable to dedicated scanning devices, with respect to speed and in their ability to scan damaged and blurred barcodes. This platform has already been tested in Europe where several companies use applications developed on it. The company also recently announced that it has raised $5.5 million with its latest round of funding – an investment made by a small group of high net worth technology entrepreneurs.

Scandit’s SDK and its blurry barcode scanning capabilities are part of the company’s own intellectual property. What also sets Scandit apart from the other companies that have created barcode scanning platforms for mobile devices is the extent to which it is mobile OS-agnostic, its cloud capabilities, and the 24/7 total support that the company offers. Scandit’s platform can be leveraged for developing applications for every type of mobile hardware including wearable devices such as Google Glass and Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smart watch. Scandit’s unique data capture and storage makes it appealing to retailers. Applications developed on the Scandit platform can help retailers keep track of consumer shopping behavior, including what is being bought at home versus in store, top categories, top products, and the number of scans over a multitude of variables. All of this data can be uploaded to the cloud so it is immediately available for retailer use.

The versatility of mobile devices gives Scandit the possibility to work in all verticals. Scandit partners with app developers and integrators to provide businesses with applications designed for their needs, meeting their specific requirements. We see Scandit as having maximum impact in the retail vertical, serving customer-facing and employee-facing applications with a single device. This platform will be particularly beneficial to small business owners who can now build readily available consumer device-based point-of-sale applications without having to invest in expensive POS systems (and added peripherals) when they already own a smartphone. Businesses with low volume barcode scanning needs that want to give themselves a modern appearance will flock to consumer devices running apps built on the Scandit platform for in-store, customer-facing operations. Since this is essentially a software-based barcode scanning and data capture platform, retailers do not even need to invest in accessories like sleds and sleeves, which tend to alter the appearance of these devices.

Although there is potential for Scandit to rival existing barcode scanning solutions, we believe that this platform will be both complementary as well as competitive to them. VDC expects consumer device application developers to drive Scandit licensing. Retailers are keen to elevate customer engagement and service levels; by enabling customers to download in-store applications and use it for price checks, inventory management, and self-checkout, they achieve just that. While the existing range of self-checkout stations require customers to wait until the end of their shopping experience to unpack their bags and scan items, applications built on the Scandit platform will enable them to scan products right as they take them off the shelf, and before they place them in their shopping baskets, eliminating the process of unloading and reloading altogether.

From VDC’s perspective, the Scandit platform and others like it are a distinct threat to the dedicated enterprise device market. By empowering users to leverage the smartphone camera to scan barcodes and capture images just as efficiently as enterprise-grade scanners would, these application development platforms can also help business owners, regardless of revenue tier, to be part of the ongoing big data revolution. Success in the data capture market will henceforth be determined by vendors’ ability to be adequately agile in their sales and marketing strategies especially as demand shifts to historically untapped segments in today’s evolving enterprise environment.

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