Barcodes in Unexpected Places

The first one-dimensional barcode was scanned in 1974 in a Marsh Supermarket in Ohio, America, placed on the very first barcoded retail product. Since then, barcode technology and the use of barcodes has moved far beyond the first scan.

Now, more complicated types of barcodes have been created. These days, two-dimensional codes have become very popular in our modern society. Codes have spread to every sector of business and they are appearing in places where they are not expected at all.

We are now able to use codes in many different, innovative ways in order to make our lives easier and more efficient.

Barcode in a product tag

Types of Barcodes

There are two main types of barcodes. Barcodes started out as very simple one dimensional codes. These consisted of a rectangular image with black lines against a white background.

The most popular of these simple codes are the UPC and EAN-13 codes. The former originating and mostly used in the USA, and the latter mostly used elsewhere throughout the world. They are used in the retail sector in order to control inventory from the moment the products are received right up till the moment that they are sold to the end consumer. They have made the retail process a lot smoother and more efficient, saving both time and money.

Other one dimensional codes include the ITF-14 codes, which are used only when you need to supply products in bulk. In addition, you also get the EAN-8 codes. This code is simply a shorter version of the EAN-13 code. It is used for especially small products such as pens or paint brushes.

Barcode technology has advanced a lot since 1974 and these days, we get the more complex, two-dimensional codes. These are square images with black shapes against a white background. What is important to note about these codes is that they are able to store information such as a website address and that they are able to be scanned by a Smartphone. They are becoming ever more popular in the world today.

The most common two-dimensional code is the Quick Response (QR) code. This QR code has led to the development of various payment applications such as Snapscan and Zapper. QR codes are also being used in the marketing of businesses.

Barcodes in Hospitals

Barcodes are now being used in hospitals throughout the world. They are instrumental in ensuring that the entire care process from admission right through to when the patient is discharged is as smooth and efficient as possible.

When a patient is admitted, they are given a wristband with a QR code on it. When this code is scanned, it will link the caregiver to all the information they need to know about this specific patient, including the patient’s medical condition, dietary requirements, contact details and medication. This helps to enhance communication between the medical staff and ensure that the patient is given top quality care.

Codes are also used to control the dispensing of medication as well as the donation of blood in the blood bank. In this way, codes are being used to save lives and enhance our overall health and wellbeing by ensuring no errors are made.

Ticket barcode
photo credit: Thiếu Quân Võ Vũ / Pexels

Barcodes in Tourism

Barcodes are being used to market tourism destinations as well as events such as concerts and festivals. QR codes are being used on the tickets to control admission to concerts.

In addition, QR codes are being used to give visitors all the information they need about the specific tourism destination that they would like to visit. All the visitor has to do is to scan the QR code at the entrance and they will be connected to maps of the area, restaurants or other retail shops that are available, local wildlife or fauna and flora. This helps visitors to make the most of the tourist attraction.

Barcodes in Conservation

Another innovative way of using codes is in the conservation sector. Exceptionally small codes are being used to track bees and discover as much information as we can in order to conserve their existence. If the bees die out, so will humanity.

Codes are also being used to control and manage sustainable forestry practices and ensure that our forests remain intact for future generations.

Barcodes in Recycling

Barcodes are also being used to encourage people to recycle. In some countries, a QR code is placed on the recycling bin. When the recycling service picks the bin up, they will scan the code, which will automatically add points to the client’s account. These points can then be redeemed as shopping vouchers or coupons.

Online discount code

Barcodes in Shopping Apps

QR codes are being used in various shopping apps. The way it works is that you download these apps onto your smartphone and then you can scan the product’s code in order to find out all the information you need to know about this specific product. Information that specific apps will provide include nutritional ingredients, calories, possible allergens, ethical aspects of the product as well as price comparisons between various stores.

These applications help consumers make fully informed decisions about what products they buy and where they buy them. Applications that use codes include Fooducate, Myfitnesspal app, Shopsavvy, GoodGuide and Social Impact.

Barcodes in Gaming

Barcodes are being used as inspiration in various video games. Two of the most popular barcode games are Scannerz and Barcode Beasties. In these games, gamers scan codes in order to create monsters that fight against each other.

Shtrikh Kod Building
Shtrikh Kod Building – photo credit: Web Urbanist

Barcodes in Design

Barcodes have even entered the realm of interior design and architecture. Buildings are being designed around the images of codes. The most famous example is the Shtrikh Kod Building in St. Petersburg, Russia that was built in 2007. Interior designers are using codes as their inspiration for creating minimalistic designs for homes. Even furniture has been designed using the stark black and white lines.

Barcodes have entered the beauty industry as well. In these modern times, it is now possible to have a manicure or pedicure with the rigid black lines of codes. Barcode tattoos are also becoming ever more popular.

Barcodes have snuck into every sector of our lives. They have enhanced the quality of our lives and have become an inspiration for many business innovations. Buy Barcodes is very excited to be a part of this ever-evolving world of barcodes. Buy Barcodes is an official barcodes supplier catering to local South African businesses of all sizes. Contact them today and get all your business’s barcode needs sorted!