Aarna Davis November 23rd, 2021

8 Interesting Uses of Barcodes

Barcodes are everywhere and for all the right reasons! They are used in a large variety of operations among different industries.

Not to mention, some industries can’t function without barcode technology. Barcodes are ubiquitous in retail. They are widely used in healthcare, logistics, and inventory management. With the advancing technology and increasing use of mobile devices, the use of barcodes has increased more than ever. Now you can easily download a barcode reader app on your phone and perform a variety of functions. Some barcode uses are pretty common, but we will be focussing on the interesting ones. You may also be surprised to get acquainted with the versatility of barcodes. So, without further delay, let’s begin! 

1. Advertising

It may sound a bit surprising, but barcodes are being used for advertising these days. Advertisers use QR codes to spread information about their products and services. You can often spot a barcode printed in a newspaper or a magazine that contains a link. With the help of a barcode reader, you can scan the code, and it will take you to a webpage. On the webpage, you can quickly find information about a specific product or a service. 

2. Air Travel

Barcode technology is common in air travel operations such as inventory management, baggage scanning, etc. But, with the increasing use of smartphones, barcodes are now used for various functions in air travel, such as mobile check-in, lounge access by scanning boarding passes, distributing vouchers, baggage search and find, better customer service, etc. If you don’t have a barcode reader app on your phone, you can search for a barcode scanner online and scan barcodes to check-in or get access to the lounge without any hassle. 

3. Gaming 

When you think of the uses of barcode technology, gaming won’t be the first thing to strike your mind. There are various games that require scanning of barcodes on different items via a barcode scanner on a mobile phone. Once the barcode is scanned, game characters are generated that the gamers can use for playing. You can also play these games with other players. 

4. Self-Checkouts in Retail

Retail is one of the industries that heavily rely on barcode technology, their usage has grown even more. One of such uses is self-checkouts at retail stores. There is no need to wait in long queues as customers can quickly scan barcodes and QR codes on the items they want to buy with the help of a barcode scanner. Once done, they can make the payment and check out. This process saves a lot of time too. In fact, retail employees use the barcode reader on their mobile phones to quickly scan the barcode on an item to provide real-time information about a product. 

5. Movie Theaters

At movie theaters, barcodes are used for smooth admission and to verify the validity of the tickets. Barcode technology helps in capturing accurate information that may not be possible manually. Other uses of barcodes at movie theaters involve revenue tracking that is difficult to do with printed tickets. Using barcodes also helps in reducing costs. 

6. For Tracking Food Intake

Have you ever thought of tracking your food intake with the help of barcodes? If not, then you need to think again! If you are a health-conscious person, then you can download certain apps on your smartphones that come with the feature of letting you scan barcodes on the products you’re going to eat. It will then provide all the information related to that product, and then you can keep track of what you are eating. It’s like your detailed food diary. 

7. Authenticity of Medicines

One of the primary uses of barcodes is providing detailed information about a product. In healthcare, DataMatrix barcodes on prescribed medications help in increasing patient safety by helping prove authenticity and supporting regulatory compliance. Healthcare employees can quickly scan the barcodes on the medication with the help of an online barcode reader on their smartphone and ensure its authenticity. They don’t need to have a handheld barcode scanner to perform scanning, as a mobile phone can be easily used as a barcode reader. 

8. Art and Pop Culture

Last but definitely not least! Barcodes are also used in art and pop culture. There is a building in Russia that looks like a linear barcode. It might seem a little bizarre, but yes, barcodes are used as an inspiration in art and pop culture. Another interesting example is the 1985 movie Back to the Future, which shows cars with barcodes on the number plates instead of alphanumeric characters. 

So, these were the nine interesting uses of barcodes. But, these aren’t the only interesting ways barcode technology is used. They make various operations easier by eliminating manual work and automating the process. Hence, a lot of time and cost are saved, and errors are eliminated. Barcodes have made the tasks of inventory management less complicated and asset tracking much easier.

Tracking packages and parcels are now easier with the help of a barcode reader. All in all, there are many exciting ways barcode technology can be used. It depends on how creative you can get to make use of it.

Aarna Davis

Sr. Product Analyst & Technical Writer

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