What are barcodes and where are they used?

You may have seen barcodes while at the shopping centre. They are a set of thick and thin parallel lines, with some numbers at the bottom. They are often found tagged to a purchased product.

A barcode is an optical representation of data, able to be read by a machine. Barcodes usually have their data represented by evenly spaced parallel lines; although now they have evolved into dots, rectangles, hexagons and other geometric patterns. Barcodes are scanned by scanners called barcode readers. Nowadays, devices such as smartphones have software which can interpret barcodes.

Where are they used?

At first, the use of barcodes was restricted to groceries and food. Nowadays their use has spread to publishing companies, where barcodes are used for coding purposes. Companies that manufacture goods use barcodes to identify the manufactured batch. A barcode is a novel way of storing information in a tiny space without the fear of the information getting damaged or erased.

Do I have to stick to quality barcodes?

The barcode industry is a huge market, and there is a wide variety of barcode products, which fit into different quality and price ranges. It is generally advisable to print original barcodes, however when quality is not of a prime concern, cheaper barcodes are always available. Even cheaper barcodes have to stick to the standard, so that there are no quality issues later on. The quality of barcodes depends upon the quality of the printer used and also the ink used.

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