SCANNING IMPROVES OPERATIONS
It’s pretty clear—nearly everyone relies on mobile phones these days. Companies are aware of employees’ familiarity with smartphones, and as with many efforts to increase worker productivity, they seek to take advantage of this trend in their own mobile device workflows. Leveraging the benefits of the smartphone in the workplace requires informed decision-making, especially when it comes to evaluating and deploying barcode scanning software apps that are readily available on the market today. (https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/247266)Interested in adopting modern barcode reading methods, executives naturally turned to the explosive surge of QR code scanning popularized a few years ago by marketing and advertising industries, using third party applications downloaded to iOS®, Android™, and Windows® devices. These applications are available from a few hundred different vendors on App Store®, Google Play™, Windows Store, and other app selling sites. (http://www.business2community.com/marketing/qr-codes-thriving-dying- 01228016#IXF18yREHOfvFjo8.97)
PROS AND CONS OF CONSUMER GRADE APPS
Although these consumer grade apps are offered at little or no charge and are quite common, it’s important to take a few things into consideration when planning to roll out enterprise solutions. Many of these consumer grade apps require additional software which was developed to handle the challenges faced in barcode scanning workflows. Also, these consumer-based apps may not work with every operating system, requiring the user to seek additional programming assistance to achieve the level of functionality they desire. (https://searchenginewatch.com/ sew/how-to/2066777/top-14-things-marketers-need-know-about-qr-codes)
There are many barcode types, or symbologies, other than QR Codes in enterprise applications. 2D barcodes were developed for the purpose of packing thousands of data characters into the same space as a 1D barcode, and several 2D barcode symbologies have been introduced to accommodate enterprise workflows. These symbologies feature characteristics such as small physical size and unique shape depending on the asset being labeled. Sometimes barcode types are imposed upon the organization by external suppliers and companies must conform to their use, while other symbologies are developed for use within a specific industry.
Free QR Code scanner apps can read only QR codes, or possibly a few 2D type barcodes. In addition, those apps are unlikely to offer the ability to configure additional symbologies which may need to be read by the phone. This degree of versatility would allow the user to optimize scanning performance by toggling off specific unneeded symbologies, but it simply isn’t available with the free, “off the shelf” code readers. Worker productivity requires that an employee scans a barcode swiftly and reliably, without having to re-scan. It becomes extremely frustrating and inefficient if a weak decoding algorithm or a damaged or poorly printed barcode causes a user to re-scan the same barcode and wait for a successful read. Whereas high mega-pixel image sensors and lens systems were traditionally needed in purpose-built barcode scanners, they can now be found in the average smartphone camera. In fact, camera phone resolution has improved to the point where it competes with purpose built scanners. The real secret to enterprise level performance comes from the decoder algorithm and the design expertise behind it.
Barcode scanning has also moved far beyond consumer packaged goods and traditional marketing advertising in terms of the media on which barcodes are printed. Environmental efforts to reduce the dependence on paper products along with the advent of convenient, smartphone-centric lifestyles have stimulated the demand for reading barcodes directly off other smartphone LCD screens. Applications vary, but some familiar examples are: passing loyalty or coupon information from a smartphone to a point of sale (POS) system, and presenting an electronic boarding pass at an airline terminal gate. 2D mobile barcode scanning is here to stay, and expected to continue growing. (https://www.cmocouncil.org/facts-stats-categories.php?view=all&category=mobile-marketing)
FURTHER COMPLICATING ISSUES
Enabling a smartphone to read a barcode displayed on another smartphone’s screen is no minor feat. At times the screen may be too reflective or the scanner cannot pick up the contrast between the bars and spaces, no matter how large or bright the image may be. Screen resolution can also play a role, along with the programming and algorithm of the scanning phone. This may result in spotty, inconsistent scanning performance at best.
An enterprise device needs to be fit for the job at hand, without pop-up ads, banners, logos or irrelevant notifications that block a view of the screen, or confuse or distract an employee. One dissatisfied customer commented on Amazon about a typical QR scanner app: “[Loaded] with ads that keep taking up screen space. I deleted it about ten minutes after downloading it. Will look for something better.” (http://www.amazon.com/ScanLife-QR-Code-Barcode-Reader/product-reviews/ B004XJNLQO?filterByStar=one_star&pageNumber=1)
Many times free QR Code software apps also utilize a revenue model that depends on consumers clicking on those ads. Not only that, but underlying programs may be running to capture device or usage data which may not be in the best interest of company security. Enterprise software like CortexDecoder® comes with no embedded malware, and supports an end user’s goal to get his or her barcode scanning job done efficiently and effectively, and not get distracted.
When deploying a new-to-company solution, having confidence that technical support—if required—is only a phone call away, is a factor to success. App stores do not discriminate against individuals uploading their QR code scanner apps. These individuals or small job shops typically do not have the capacity to provide reliable customer support or robust technical documentation. Make sure to choose a company that will stand behind their product and give the support necessary to get business applications up and running quickly.
SOLUTIONS TO THESE ISSUES DO EXIST
For companies to succeed in deploying smartphone-based barcode scanning software in their workflows, they should ensure that barcode variety, scan speed and performance, clutter-less screens, security, and vendor support are at the top of the list when evaluating options.
When asked about their industry leading SDK, CortexDecoder®, Code’s CEO Kent Hansen, remarked, “There are many software-based barcode reading options on the market today, but they lack the performance and reliability that is both expected and required to meet the demands of enterprises. For years, Code has been leading the way with best-in-class, high-quality products. CortexDecoder® continues that tradition, giving our customers a world-class software platform that supports their business needs.”
CortexDecoder® can integrate with any device and is compatible with any operating system, including iOS, Android, Windows and Linux®. It can read all major 1D, 2D, Postal, and direct part mark barcodes as well as offer the flexibility to toggle on/off the symbologies of interest. Code’s scientists and experts have developed the algorithms to quickly decode poor quality, damaged, and even curved barcodes. The speed at which these scanning solutions work is measurably faster than our competitors, and our accuracy is guaranteed.
Code takes pride in our first time-every time motto, and our goal is to live up to the promise of superior accuracy and speed. If you’re ready to learn more about what the CortexDecoder® can do for your company, contact us today at 801-495-2200. We’d love to show you all the ways we can make your work life easier.