Technology seems to be evolving at a rate beyond our comprehension. Things that were not possible 20 or 30 years ago are now a regular part of our daily life. Perhaps the most fascinating way technology has evolved is in the field of data science. Now, you have search engines that recommend pages and products based on data collected from your browsing history, and entire fields centered on analyzing data to further simplify our lives.
One of the simplest methods to analyze and process data is something we deal with but rarely stop to consider — barcoding. They have been a part of our lives for quite some time now, but there are far more important uses for them than knowing a product’s price at a supermarket cashier.
This is one of the lesser-known uses of barcodes, and it is arguably the most important one. If you have an inventory of any products, using barcodes will make managing them exponentially easier in terms of figuring out the location of each, dates, prices, and any other relevant details.
You just need to label each item in your inventory with a unique universal product code (UPC), which will correspond to a similar code on product shelves. That way, you will be able to easily locate each of your products with ease and swiftness.
Using barcodes for events has been quite the thing for the past few years with the rise of online booking. People don’t need to go to on-ground vendors anymore to get tickets; they can just book online using their credit cards, and a code is sent to your phone, which is then scanned by the ushers as you go to the event. You will notice that they often use an identifiable code font that all scanners can read, which makes it easy for the organizers to process tickets.
You can use barcodes for tickets to anything, from the theater and opera to football matches. One of the reasons why this has been very popular recently is because this digitization makes it a lot easier for the organizers to collect revenues from the event as the data of each ticket is sent to the system.
Tracking Sales Numbers
A lot of point of sale (POS) systems use barcodes to better keep track of sales numbers and revenues. They do so by printing a small barcode on every receipt, which then stores all data pertaining to the purchases. This means that you can track the location in which the transaction happened, the method of payment, the salesperson or cashier who made the transaction, price, date, and all other details.
This is very helpful for businesses, seeing as they could track any sale where a customer has a problem, for instance, so they could identify what went wrong or return the product. As for the business side of things, you get to keep track of just how good your company is doing and process data much more efficiently.
This is one of the coolest ways advertisers started making use of barcodes. If a product is advertised in a store or even a public venue, they attach a barcode at the bottom. The consumer can then download a barcode scanner on their smartphone, scan it, and find out more details on the product advertised. It is an efficient and very accessible way to market products to a large number of people without needing a salesperson for each.
Believe it or not, some social media platforms use barcodes as a sort of identification for users to distinguish between the different ones. They are used like a user name of sorts. If you want to add a friend on one of those platforms, you just scan their barcode using your phone’s camera.
This isn’t exactly new, but most people don’t know about it. Games that use barcodes have been around since the 90s. The premise is quite simple, and it was leveraged by some cool games like Skannerz, which was released 20 years ago. In this one, you capture monsters by scanning them, and then you go to battle with other players.
This cool application of barcodes is still being leveraged; developers use barcodes for some interesting game plays like in Barcode Beasties, where you can collect a monster when you scan items with your phone.
There is no telling what barcodes will be used for in the future, but it will probably be something bizarre and interesting. From inventory management to revenue collection, barcoding makes organizing and calculations easier. Even architecture utilizes them; you can find structures with designs inspired by barcodes!
Interesting related article: “Why is inventory management so important for retailers?“