New barcode heralds major changes for retail store systems

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A fundamental change is taking place in the world of bar codes, for the first time since bar coding was introduced to retail packaging over 35 years ago.

The new type of bar code, GS1 DataBar, has been approved for marking trade items in the retail supply chain. GS1, the global retail standards-setting organisation (formerly known as EAN International and Uniform Code Council) has set January 1, 2010 as the sunrise mandate for global adoption of this new bar code type.  GS1 is a global organisation with over 100 member organisations spread around the world, and over a million supplier/retailer members. Starting in 2010, trading partners across the globe will be printing and reading the new GS1 DataBar codes.

This global initiative is an alternative to the EAN/UPC bar codes used today. Retailers must be ready to scan these packages at  the point-of-sale, on the shelf, in the stockroom, and elsewhere within their logistics systems.  All bar code scanners and mobile data capture terminals will have to be either upgraded or replaced with new equipment capable of scanning and decoding GS1 DataBar.

The change has been overdue for sometime.  Existing EAN/UPC bar codes consume a great deal of packing space.  Consequently, very small retail items have been unable to carry a bar code.  As the bar code is now so essential to checkout and stock taking operations, it was necessary to find a bar code type which was more compact and could also deal with encoding valuable variable data such as best before dates and supplier ID.

Europes largest manufacturer, Datalogic, is already well ahead of the game.  Datalogic Mobile provides a range of mobile computers designerd for most retail applicationss. Mobile computers must be able to read all seven variants of GS1 DataBar, and scanners must be able to return data in the form of GS1 Application Identifiers with accompanying data. All current Datalogic Windows CE and Windows Mobile products meet these requirements.

Colin Pike, Datalogic Mobile UK Country Manager, comments, this is a fundamental change with very far-reaching implications for the retail trade.  Whilst most retailers have made, or are in the process of, making changes to their store systems, there are still many people out there who are not prepared for this change.  Many older handheld terminals are physically unable to be upgraded for a variety of reasons.  GS1 DataBar code require ten times more processing power to  decode in comparison to EAN/UPC and the scanners in most handheld terminals simply cant cope.


About Datalogic

Datalogic Group is a world-class producer of bar code readers, data collection mobile computers and RFID systems. We offer innovative solutions for many industrial sectors, from manufacturing to transportation & logistics and retail. The Group has been listed on the STAR segment of the Italian stock exchange since 2001 as DAL.MI, with headquarters located in Lippo di Calderara di Reno (Bologna). Datalogic has about 1900 employees worldwide, in over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, the United States and the Pacific Rim.

In 2007, the Datalogic Group achieved revenues of 404 million, an increase of 6% over the previous year.

Datalogic Mobile, part of the Datalogic Group, is a global player in the  Mobile Computers market, offering a full range of products, dedicated to  retail  store automation, warehouse, logistics  and, field force automation solutions.  

Datalogic Mobiles range includes hand-held computers  ranging from ultra-compact to full alphanumeric keypad handhelds, industrial PDAs, rugged  pistol grip and vehicle mount terminals. Middleware software, utilities and tools, such as the companys Remote Device Management software assure fast and secure seamless integration into most back office systems.

Datalogic Mobiles UK head office is based in Redbourn, Hertfordshire where Datalogic has had a presence for over 25 years.

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