Scanning Products vs. Scanning Barcodes
Imagine you’re buying a can of Pepsi at the store. The person at the cash register passes it in front of the image recognition scanner. The computer identifies the blue, red and white design as a Pepsi can, dials it in to the cash register and confirms it is a legitimate item.
This is not science fiction, but a point at which technology is about to arrive. Photo recognition is about to be rolled out in a lot of stores. With this development comes potential for replacing how we perceive and use barcodes, due too the fact that the entire item will become a scanable object.
As this type of technology continues to develop, the need for 1D barcodes will slowly subside. Part of the reason for this is that 1D barcodes are only capable of holding 85 characters, while 2D barcodes have capacity to communicate more than 7,000 characters, which accounts for about two paragraphs of data. Businesses will be capable of processing a lot more complex information by switching over, including expiry dates and serial numbers in a single scan.
One of the most common examples of this type of technology is QR codes, which allow businesses to have more complex interactions with their customers. These have made the virtual grocery store possible, such as the one built by Tesco in a subway station in Korea.
In the near future, both of these technologies will be used together with improved scanners, such as self-scan tunnels, which can scan an item regardless of how it is passed through. Systems like these can process items at an extremely fast rate, on a conveyer belt rolling at 67 feet per minute.
The next phase after this in the future of scan-able objects is scanning items based on their design and appearance. Digimarc barcodes will feature IPC/EAN being embedded imperceptibly on the surface of packaging, meaning that the packaging will no longer seem to feature a barcode, while still being able to communicate all the necessary information at the point of sale much more quickly. The extra speed is generated where shoppers and cashiers no longer need to locate the barcode in order to scan it.