Barcode turns 50 but why its days might be numbered – Times of India

The patch of irregular vertical strains that revolutionised testing on the grocery store and facilitated the globalisation of retail is popping 50.
However because the barcode celebrates its birthday on Monday, its days is likely to be numbered because it faces competitors from the youthful QR code, the information-filled squares utilized in smartphones.
The trademark beep as a product is scanned is heard about six billion occasions per day the world over as round 70,000 gadgets are offered every second.
It has develop into so built-in within the purchasing expertise that it’s straightforward to neglect how a lot the expertise revolutionised retail by dashing up the checkout course of and giving retailers the flexibility to hint merchandise and higher handle stock.
The barcode not solely identifies a product, however “offers professionals in shops entry to different functionalities”, stated Laurence Vallana, head of France de SES-Imagotag, an organization that specialises in digital tagging.
Chewing gum to fruit
Barcodes had been initially patented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver in the USA in 1952. But it surely wasn’t till practically 20 years later, in 1971, that US engineer George Laurer perfected the expertise and strikes in the direction of its commercialisation started.
On April 3, 1973 the usual to determine merchandise was agreed by numerous giant retailers and meals corporations. It later grew to become generally known as EAN-13, which stands for European Article Quantity and the variety of digits within the barcode.
The next 12 months, on June 26 within the US state of Ohio, the primary product was scanned: a pack of chewing gum that’s now within the Nationwide Museum of American Historical past in Washington.
At present, the non-governmental organisation International Customary 1 manages the barcode system and counts about two million companies as members.
It supplies corporations with a singular “international commerce merchandise quantity” for every product, which is then translated into the barcode. Every agency should pay an annual price primarily based on their gross sales, as much as practically $5,000 per 12 months.
From bars to QRs
However the humble barcode will quickly give method to one other customary developed by the organisation, stated Renaud de Barbuat and Didier Veloso, the respective heads of GS1 International and GS1 France.
The brand new customary, primarily based on QR, or Fast Response code, will probably be launched round 2027.
If barcodes have been in comparison with jail bars by critics of the over-commercialisation of society, the Chinese language recreation Go along with its white and black items on a sq. board was the inspiration for the QR code’s Japanese creator, Masahiro Hara.
Developed in 1994, QR codes can maintain rather more info as they’re learn each horizontally, like barcodes, and vertically.
As a substitute of getting to look a database for info to go together with a product, the QR code can combine info straight, such because the composition of the product and recycling directions.
GS1 believes shifting to the QR code format permits the sharing of way more details about merchandise in addition to content material, enabling new makes use of that will probably be accessible to shoppers in addition to retailers.
As smartphones can learn QR codes, they’re a simple method to ship individuals to web sites to get further info, resulting in their widespread adoption by corporations, artists and even museums. They’re even utilized by cost techniques.
However barcodes are more likely to stay in place for years to return because the world step by step transitions to QR codes.

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