Barcode Scanning – Now More about Software than Ever Before

by Richa Gupta | 10/24/2014

At VDC, we believe the BYOD trend in enterprise environments has far-reaching consequences even on the barcode scanner market, particularly the handheld form factor. As discussed in an earlier blog, Scandit, a mobile image processing and cloud computing software vendor headquartered in Zurich, has developed a platform that enables retailers and consumers to use smartphones and other consumer devices to facilitate enterprise-grade barcode scanning. Founded in 2009, Scandit’s clientele now includes retailers like  Ahold, Coop, Homeplus (Tesco), PartyCity, and Saks Fifth Avenue among others. Their software platform also provides features such as cloud services and the ability to easily perform software updates and maintenance. Using a device’s built-in camera Scandit’s software platform allows for camera-based barcode scanning at any angle and with high read rates. In October 2014, the company released its Mobile App Suite for retail, with a series of customizable, cross-platform mobile applications for retail sales associates and consumers. This suite includes application templates for Mobile Shopping (mShopping), Self-Checkout, Shopping List, Clienteling, Procurement, and Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS). Each of these templates currently contains a combination of several modules: Product Data Cache, List Management, User Management, Barcode Scanner, Analytics, Push Notifications, Sharing, and Payment.

While Scandit recognizes that traditional handheld scanners and enterprise-grade mobile devices may be more rugged and durable as compared to smartphones or tablets, the company also points out that there are many different types of sleeves available in the market that can protect these devices from drops and other types of damage. Scandit believes this will allow its solutions to be seamlessly integrated into industries beyond retail such as logistics and manufacturing. In the world of retail, mobile-assisted shopping and mobile self-scanning are becoming very popular trends. Scandit’s platform allows customers shopping at brick-and-mortar retail locations to use their own personal devices to scan items while they shop, thereby saving time and also cutting costs for the retailer.

Scandit’s market presence and innovative software-based approach has helped the company establish itself as one of the leaders in the self-scanning market, but it is certainly not the only one in this space.Manatee Works and Re-Vision B.V. compete directly with Scandit with their own barcode scanner software development kits (SDKs), each bringing something unique to the table. At the other end of the spectrum,Infinite Peripherals produces hardware-based scanning accessories such as sleds and sleeves designed for iOS devices, which can read 1D and 2D codes and also read RFID tags. The company partners with numerous app developers to allow for easy integration with its hardware. However, unlike Infinite Peripherals only provides scanning accessories for iOS devices. These platform developers’ emphasis on software rather than hardware will allow them extend into the world of wearable devices and augmented reality. At VDC, we believe wearable devices represent the future of AIDC in warehousing and logistics by enabling workers to perform order picking, storage and retrieval, and pallet organization more quickly and with greater accuracy. Having warehouse “pickers” utilize wearable technologies rather than handheld devices would also allow them to more easily perform tasks using both arms. Wearable augmented reality devices will also allow delivery personnel to have access to maps and directions right in front of their eyes, all without the added hassle of having to carry handheld GPS devices along with the package itself.

Enterprise technology budget allocation is no longer restricted to purpose-built devices with traditional form factors. Companies like Infinite Peripherals and Scandit are changing the way these organizations distribute their data capture solution investments, particularly in low scanning volume environments. VDC will stay on top of this trend as the market evolves. Watch this space.

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