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RFID and Bar Coding Technologies

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Information Systems
Wordcount: 3037 words Published: 2nd Jan 2018

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Barcode is an optical machine-readable representation of data, which shows certain data on certain products. Originally, barcodes represented data in the widths (lines) and the spacing of parallel lines, and may be referred to as linear or 1D (1 dimensional) barcodes or symbologies. They also come in patterns of squares, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns within images termed 2D (2 dimensional) matrix codes or symbologies. Although 2D systems use symbols other than bars, they are generally referred to as barcodes as well. Barcodes can be read by optical scanners called barcode readers, or scanned from an image by special software.

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The first use of barcodes was to label railroad cars, but they were not commercially successful until they were used to automate supermarket checkout systems, a task in which they have become almost universal. Their use has spread to many other roles as well, tasks that are generically referred to as Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC). Other systems are attempting to make inroads in the AIDC market, but the simplicity, universality and low cost of barcodes has limited the role of these other systems. It costs 0.5¢ (U.S.) to implement a barcode, while passive RFID still costs about 7¢ to 30¢ per tag.

In hospitals bar codes are now used in a number of ways. In blood banks, as has been the case for a number of years now, they have the ability to track blood back to the initial donor. Because of what’s happened in the past three or four years in discovering the risk of AIDS, that’s very important. And for keeping track of patient numbers, the checking in or out of patients through the bar code on the little wristband that all hospital patients wear is much the same as the check-in/check-out process of buying products.

This coding process has just started within the last year or so because it’s a more efficient way to make sure that when the patient gets two aspirins, he gets billed for those aspirins. In many hospitals about 30 to 40 percent of their total supplies never get charged out to patients because the paperwork involved in billing for two aspirins costs far more than the aspirins, so nobody worries about it. The problem with that is quite obvious. The federal government is getting a great deal tougher on hospitals to increase room rates to cover items like that. The bar code is very efficient at keeping track of supplies. Again, it’s an easy way to get information into a computer and then do something with it.

Additionally, you’ve been in the department stores, such as Dillards, which now use security tags. And, if you’ve done what I’ve done – namely, pay for a sport coat but the clerk forgets to take off the tag, then walk out the door and the whole building comes down on you because that tag is still on there – then you know what electronic bar codes are about. These security tags have little transformers in them, which are really another form of bar coding.

The same is true if you are, for example, a bank tied in with a grocery store. We now have developed credit cards with bar codes on them such that when you go into the grocery store to cash a check, they don’t have to look at your identification or make a telephone call or key your number into a little checker unit. They simply scan it, and instantly the checkout process becomes an information-gathering process, keeping track of what you’re buying so that, at the end of that process, out comes not only a tape of your purchases but also some coupons toward purchases for the next time you come in. And the coupons that come out are a function of what you bought.

Some ingenious things are now starting to happen along those lines, but it’s all a function of the same thing. We have the ability to do something with that gigantic bunch of information that heretofore was impossible to process. The bar code is simply a way to do that very efficiently. the last two years of being able to put information into a computer directly by simply talking into a microphone. That ability is probably number of years off, but it is coming.

Something along those lines will happen as it becomes more important that you get the data quicker and faster. Information is the new currency of the world. I really believe that. I believe it’s the key to outsmarting the competition. If you think about it and think about your own concerns and your own businesses, I think you’ll agree with me.

Bar codes provide the information vehicle that you need to make some decisions that involve merchandising and ultimately servicing your customer better. The nichemanship that bar codes help create permits a flexibility that will win out. And we’ll beat the competition hands down. Bar codes are commonsense solutions for many problems involving the collection of information. Defeating the foreign competition will be a relatively simple proposition because of the flexibility we will have and the superior information we have about what our customers really want.

3. Literature Review

A review of the literature reveals that very few empirical investigations have been undertaken to quantify the benefits of RFID and Bar coding technologies. The number of articles that discuss RFID technology and its adoption has risen from almost zero in the early 1990’s to nearly nine thousand by 2005. Of those studies that have been conducted so far only one dimensional barcodes were studied (Vijayaraman & Osyk, 2006).

This does not appear to be an accurate representation of the technologies currently used in supply chains and firms. Have companies and researchers become so consumed with the hype that surrounds RFID that they have forgotten about the most widely used technology on this planet – bar coding, with five billion barcodes scanned each day across the world and already implemented across diverse businesses and product ranges (Wyld, 2006).

Barcodes are part of every product that we buy and has become the“ubiquitous standard for identifying and tracking products” (Wyld, 2006, p. 157) Traditional bar coding is coupled with the Universal Product Code (UPC) and every day accounts for billions of scans all over the world. According to a survey conducted by Zebra Technologies in 2006, over 96% of European companies cited improved efficiency as the main benefit of using bar coding. Other reasons that European companies gave for using barcodes were: increasing the accuracy of ordering and invoicing (32%), cost reduction (26%), and the fact that newer technology isn’t ready yet (16%) (“Accuracy tops UK”, 2006).

Within the Auto-ID family, a new two-dimensional system of bar coding has evolved which allows barcodes to hold more data than the traditional method. Product data is encoded in both horizontal and vertical dimensions and, as more data is encoded, the size of the barcode can be increased in both the horizontal and vertical directions thus maintaining a manageable shape for easy scanning and product packaging specifications (“2D Barcodes Explained”, 2007; Shaked, Levy, Baharavl, & Yen, 2001).

Two-dimensional barcodes are already being used for concert tickets by sending a barcode to a mobile phone and then scanning the message at the door by a laser gun. In Japan, mobile phones are being adapted to scan two-dimensional barcodes placed in magazines adverts. The barcode is scanned and connects the mobile to the internet and shows the user the film clip or plays the ring tones. Further developments in the lasers used to scan barcodes help improve the efficiency and speed in which barcodes can be scanned (Dearne, 2006; Ishii, 2004; Suzuki, 2006).

Example, they are adversely affected if they are brought into contact with metal and liquids. The signal frequency that RFID uses is also subject to interference as they are commonly used by other technologies, and RFID standards as yet have not assigned a lone frequency for RFID transmissions (Clarke et al, 2005; Forcino, 2004; Ranky, 2006)

Barcodes, though, can be printed on durable materials and are not affected by substrate materials or electromagnetic emissions, all of which lend them a competitive edge in some industries and environments. Improvements in how barcodes are printed are evolving all the time as manufacturers strengthen the barcode system. Two-dimensional barcodes can be read even when damaged, so this further shortens the gap between the two technologies (“Barcode scanners”, 2007; Dover, 1995). Developments in the range at which barcodes can be scanned similarly reduce the apparent performance gap between RFID and bar coding (“Wide ranging barcode scanner,” 2007).

It is questionable why there has been no significant research around these developments that can purportedly improve the quality and performance of existing systems.


This report is depending on the secondary data include both raw data and published summaries. Most organizations collect and store a variety of data to support their operations consumer research organizations collect data are subsequently by different clients. A growing variety haves been deposited in and are available from data archives. In addition, the vast majority of companies and professional organizations have their own Internet sites from which data may be obtained.


Questionnaire can be conducted in different form: telephone, Internet or postal. The data from each of these techniques needs to be reliable and valid. Bell (1997), suggests there are seven questions types, verbal or open, list, ranking, scale, category, quantity and grid. Questionnaires can be use to gather information from respondents on for example there:

  • Beliefs
  • Demographic characteristic
  • Knowledge
  • Attitudes.

The questions fall into two main categories, demographic and content questions, the demographic seek information about the respondents such as age, occupancy, and so on. The content questions are dealing with the subject being surveyed, and ask about the respondent’s opinions, attitudes, perceptions and behaviors.

4.2 Interviews

Interviews are time consuming it is a highly subjective technique and therefore there is always the damage of bias. Analyzing responses can present problems, and wording the questions is almost as demarking for interviews as it is for questionnaires. Interviews can be divided into many sub areas, and how they are conducted will classify then either as quantitative or qualitative. Structured interviews, use questionnaire but the interview meet respondents and ask the questions face to face. The interviewer must not deviate from the schedule of questions., semi-structured interviews, the researcher will have a list of themes and questions to be covered.

Each form has its own advantages and disadvantages. The needed data and each form has its nature shall highly influence which form shall be used and there will be always a reference to the form used to gather given data.

4.3 Field Survey

The research methodologies comply of both quantitative and qualitative modes of date’s collection and include: background, literature review, questionnaire. In addition research on the literature review of books, Journals and web pages around subject areas. The research shall not follow either positivism nor phenomenological shall it be a hybrid of both- pluralism. Also the writer research methods are deductive where the writer shall be formulating certain hypothesis and then shall test those hypotheses through data collected.

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5.Barcode applications in practical life

Uses barcode technology has no limits; it is medicine for trade and education for tourism. For example, bar code scanning can be used on some merchandise to give the buyer more information about the product. This is what started applying a global fast food, and had ensured that with each fund and a small meal that contains health information on the meal.

In the field of medicine can provide some medical drugs contain a link to the property and its medical. Barcode can also be used in tourism by providing tourist guidebooks containing the bar code symbol for the particular tourism can benefit from it to access the required information or to find out more about the region. It also began the spread of bar code scanning as an alternative to postage stamps and seals. Even in foreign restaurants do put the code bar code menu to be translated from one language to another.

Finally barcode applications in education, many of them to provide the student with the code bar code after the end of the lecture scans the code, and routing mobile phone site article on the network to work after the exam to download calendar of what has been explained, or ask a question is confused by his understanding.

The technological developments in mobile barcode technology have made it available to all. Enough to have a supported mobile phone camera and supports the third generation to be able to take advantage and experience of the barcode technology.

Known as a barcode label product globally and locally in the form of the device can designed to be read being picked up and sent to a file of information within the computer and to obtain information for a particular product with the utmost precision, speed, and a code number of data products, which facilitates the operations as follows:

It contacts the abolition of manual data and easy access to data with speed and accuracy in identifying the products and Electronic control of production lines and handling of raw materials. Moreover, control the movement of electronically stores with ease and speed of trading through the distribution channels and thus reduce costs and satisfy customers. Also it is easy handling and circulation of goods at point of sale and easy follow-up product at any point during the stages of manufacturing, storage, supply, distribution and sale and the final follow-up services. It is communication through the exchange of information electronically criteria. Furth more, it is collecting and presenting information in a fast, accurate and reliable in strategic planning for the production of marketing. Also it reduces the size of inventory and reduce losses resulting from the expiration of products and increase the value added of the product and raise its competitiveness in both domestic or world markets through find a way to exchange data globally agreed.

In additional it is coding of products in accordance with the Code is the image of a civilized world and keep abreast of globalization and trade developments international and WTO requirements. Also the numbering of the product in the form of bar code and a simple, inexpensive process to facilitate data retrieval automatically and raising the efficiency of customer service to expedite the sale and payment.

In point-of-sale management, the use of barcodes can provide very detailed up-to-date information on key aspects of the business, enabling decisions to be made much more quickly and with more confidence. For example:

Fast-selling items can be identified quickly and automatically reordered to meet consumer demand, and Slow-selling items can be identified, preventing a build-up of unwanted stock,

The effects of repositioning a given product within a store can be monitored, allowing fast-moving more profitable items to occupy the best space and historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately. Items may be re-priced on the shelf to reflect both sale prices and price increases.

This technology also enables the profiling of individual consumers, typically through a voluntary registration of discount cards. While pitched as a benefit to the consumer, this practice is considered to be potentially dangerous by privacy advocates. Besides sales and inventory tracking, barcodes are very useful in shipping/receiving/tracking.

When a manufacturer packs a box with any given item, a Unique Identifying Number (UID) can be assigned to the box. A relational database can be created to relate the UID to relevant information about the box; such as order number, items packed, qty packed, final destination, etc.

The information can be transmitted through a communication system such as Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) so the retailer has the information about a shipment before it arrives. Shipments that are sent to a Distribution Center (DC) are tracked before being forwarded to the final destination. When the shipment gets to the final destination, the UID gets scanned, so the store knows where the order came from, what’s inside the box, and how much to pay the manufacturer.

The reason barcodes are business-friendly is that the scanners are relatively low cost and extremely accurate compared to key-entry, with only about 1 substitution error in 15,000 to 36 trillion characters entered. The exact error rate depends on the type of barcode.

6. References:

  1. Tony Seideman, “Barcodes Sweep the World”, barcoding.com Wonders of Modern Technology
  2. George Laurer, “Development of the U.P.C. Symbol”, bellsouthpwp.net
  3. Nelson, Benjamin (1997). From Punched Cards To Bar Codes.
  4. Varchaver, Nicholas (2004-05-31). “Scanning the Globe”. Fortune. http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2004/05/31/370719/index.htm. Retrieved 2006-11-27.
  5. Selmeier, Bill (2008). Spreading the Barcode. pp. 26, 214, 236, 238, 244, 245, 236, 238, 244, 245. ISBN 978-0-578-02417-2.
  6. Bishop, Tricia (July 5 2004). “UPC bar code has been in use 30 years”. SFgate.com. http://www.sfgate.com/cgibin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/2004/07/05/BUG6Q7G4AJ1.DTL&type=business. Retrieved 22 December 2009.


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