50 years since the birth of barcodes – where to go next?

Despite how established barcodes affect our lives and the global economy, it is unbelievable that this concept was introduced only 50 years ago.

Maria Palazzolo, CEO of GS1 Australia, explains.

“This is one of the great historical stories that changed the modern economy.”

According to Palazzoro, it was the first time that competitors had truly come together and set aside the difference. “They were able to create a global solution that would be useful to everyone. This eventually created the barcode number and the linear barcode we know today.”

History is recurring as entities like GS1 now follow the same path and plan for the next 50 years when 2DBarcodes will replace today’s linear barcodes.

“We need to move from what is currently built into the organization to something completely different that we need to do in the future, almost worldwide. This is not a small feat, it needs to be well planned and implemented. There is, “says Palazzolo. “We need an industry that works as we did 50 years ago.”

Linear barcode

Various pressures are driving this change. It is clear that consumers are in high demand for more information and complete transparency because linear barcodes have limitations on additional data such as traceability. This means that more industries will feel the need for 2DB barcodes.

The traceability feature of current linear barcodes is hampered by the limited amount of information that can be stored. However, many industry organizations are also developing their own stand-alone barcode systems that do not communicate with other companies. Only open standards like GS1 can do that properly.

“It’s these limitations that made it impossible for the entire supply chain to accept a journey of full traceability,” said Palazzolo. “To use traceability, we need a seamless flow of standardized data throughout the supply chain. Without a single standard across the value chain, full traceability is not possible.”

According to Palazzolo, this is part of a bigger problem. An important issue with the introduction of 2D barcodes is also to encourage the industry to adopt the global standard for barcodes, as it was with the introduction of barcodes 50 years ago.

The link is now created between the 2DBarcode and the unique GS1ID, eliminating the need for a standalone system and the amount of information available to the user. “With more standardized information, 2DBarcode gives us complete visibility across the value chain with everyone who uses the same system,” says Palazzolo.

Role of GS1

The role of GS1 in this transition is not important. The company aims to foster collaboration and encourage companies around the world to plug into the same system.

Palazzolo believes that the long-awaited transition can be facilitated by inviting all parties to the table, facilitating conversations, and making everyone understand what the process is and what the changes mean.

“We need to make everyone understand, it’s about making decisions for the greater benefit of the industry, not just a few companies,” Palazzolo said.

“GS1 has worked with major Australian retailers to identify how 2DBarcodes can provide the ability to retrieve additional valuable data about the products they buy and sell,” said Palazzolo. I will.

As Palazzolo explains, GS1 has a global working group that designs and develops 2D Barcode under GS1’s global program. The future of on-pack coding..

This program acts as a migration initiative to coordinate global and local changes.

“This ensures that we manage all parts of the project and ensure that each move takes place when an industry-wide agreement is reached,” says Palazzolo. “It doesn’t work if only one retailer is changing the system.”

Leading retailers are driving these changes. Ultimately, 2DBarcode is used in point-of-sale and can be used throughout the supply chain of manufacturing and distribution channels.

GS1 also serves to inform these suppliers that they can link their products to their brands and promote food safety, including important information such as batch numbers and expiration dates.

But adjusting the transition is only half the battle. As Palazzolo points out, what information is retained even if the 2D Barcode is printed on the product and shipped tomorrow? And what kind of system will be introduced to actually read the data?

“It will be a slow process,” said Palazzolo. “This is an industry debate that we need to have. We need to discuss what data is entered and how we actually use it.”

Systems that scan for updated barcodes need to be able to decipher and integrate information in order to improve global traceability, Palazzolo explains.

“This is one of the biggest hurdles we face. Rather than printing 2D Barcode on the package itself or making the decision to do it, the right system manages and reads the data from the barcode. I will be able to do it, “she said.


Palazzolo was preparing to make a long way, but thanks to COVID-19, it wasn’t as long as it used to be. But it didn’t just start with a pandemic. This change has slowly snowballed over the past two years, with consumers steering the change.

Due to the shift towards sustainability and traceability, consumers were demanding more information than was available. Suddenly demanded where the product came from and what happened along the way, the price was no longer enough to sell the product.

“And even retailers and manufacturers are aware of this,” said Palazzolo. “It ultimately leads to brand loyalty. If we can provide such data to consumers, they will come back because they know they can trust you.”

And what COVID did was to provide that additional push.

The introduction of a “check-in” system as part of health regulation has promoted a level of comfort, awareness, and understanding of barcodes never seen before.

“And why do we see resistance?” Palazzolo asked. “It would be very easy if the cell phone here had a free-to-use scanner in your pocket. Why do you say there is no information that could help us?”

50 years ahead

According to Palazzolo, barcode hybrids may be seen in the near future, probably due to marketer dissatisfaction. Some marketers have described barcodes as “visual pollution” in the past, so they realize the benefits of a single barcode that works in the supply chain and interacts with consumers. The end result is expected to be an industry-approved, single 2D Barcode.

“That wouldn’t be the Big Bang situation,” said Palazzolo. “This is a transition program and will take years to complete, but I think it will definitely be faster to adopt 2D technology than linear barcodes, especially in the food and beverage industry.”

What 2DBarcodes allows is to transform the product into a communication channel with a wealth of information.

“Fifty years ago, when I saw the first barcode scanned, no one had seen it, so someone said,’It’s like watching magic.'” Palazzolo asked what he saw in the industry the following year. “And we say that in the next 50 years, we will create more magic.”

50 years since the birth of barcodes – where to go next?

Source link 50 years since the birth of barcodes – where to go next?

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