The Hard Facts: Software vs. Hardware

Soft-Scanning Cost of Ownership Breakdown

Posted by Leslie Titus Bryant on Jul 13, 2018 10:38:06 PM
Leslie Titus Bryant
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When someone talks about "barcode scanning" in general, it has always meant hardware that is specialized for particular barcode types (1D, 2D, DPM, etc...) and for industries like healthcare, manufacturing, industrial, logistics, government, and others. Depending on the workflow complexity, this could even mean that there may be a need for more than one type of barcode scanner. Costs can start to exponentially climb when upgrades are needed, products are EOL'd, or their life-cycles simply come to a sad and damaged end.

The mobile revolution introduced barcode scanning sleds — this added batteries and charging stations, but still included dedicated scan engines to complete the mobile barcode scanning tasks. Today, software is turning any mobile devices with an embedded camera into an enterprise-grade barcode scanner without any additional scanning hardware or accessories. Could this be true? How could software compete with purpose-built hardware and its singular function to scan? In fact, it doesn't compete. If you are Code, it completely blows it away. 

Is it time to take your barcode scanning mobile?

Think about the camera on your smartphone. The high-resolution sensors that are often 12 megapixels or more feature zoom and wide-angle lenses with built-in optical image stabilizers to help eliminate blurriness. These mobile devices singularly contain more imaging power than any barcode scanning hardware device available today. Something you may not realize is that the software has always been the wizard behind the curtain making all the barcode scanning hardware work. Often, limitations in the hardware require the software functions and features to be scaled back or even turned off. 

If there is a specific need for hardware it is important to take into account the software doing the work in the background because not all software is created equal. This has continued to be the number one differentiator for Code and explains why some barcode scanning brands simply work better than others. Code's world-class software has continued to raise the bar for over 20 years, easily reading and decoding barcodes other can't. The engineering behind the powerful decoding algorithm not only scans more barcode symbologies, it compensates for damage and less than ideal scanning conditions. If you don't believe in magic you will once you see this software in action. 

Great Camera + Amazing Decoding Software = Enterprise-Grade Barcode Scanner

Epic Rover With CortexDecoder Barcode scanning softwareIn order to deploy software-based barcode scanning on your mobile device, you need an application that has integrated the software. One company that did this exceptionally well is Epic Systems and Rover 6.0 using Code's scanning software CortexDecoder. In healthcare, barcode scanning has become an essential element to patient safety in areas such as bedside medication adminstration. The Rover app has become an important mobile tool used at the point of care and deployed on many different mobile devices–ones with dedicated scan engines and ones without. This gives us the perfect example to illustrate the cost of ownership breakdowns when comparing hardware and software. 

Above we explained how mobile soft-scanning is measurably superior to its hardware counterpart so we already know that the best scan quality comes from simply using the iPhone by itself, but let's talk about the money you can save by comparing the cost of doing the same point-of-care workflow using the same Rover app. In fact, the only difference is the mobile device doing the scanning. 

Below you can see in the chart we have dedicated hardware (Zebra TC51-HC), scanning sleds that hold the mobile device but still use a dedicated scan engine (Honeywell Captuvo SL42h), and then simply the iPhone using its built-in camera and a protective case with scanning powered by CortexDecoder software. Again, all devices doing the same job running the same app. It just so happens that the one using the mobile device's built-in camera delivers not only scanning and decoding superiority, but also the most substantial savings! 


The above chart shows that over a 3-year period, a company deploying Epic's mobile HIS app Rover can save over 37% simply using the add-on soft-scan feature, CortexDecoder. Prices were taken from CDW's website and based on a 1000 unit deployment.

Better scanning power and saving money! You can Expect More with Code! 


Topics: barcode scanning workflow, Code, how barcode scanning works, Healthcare, mobile barcode scannning, barcode scanning software, Healthcare Innovation, Hardware vs. Software, Soft-Scanning

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