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What is Barcode ?

A barcode (also bar code) is a representation of information (usually dark ink on a light background to create high and low reflectance which is converted to 1s and 0s). Originally, barcodes stored data in the widths and spacings of printed parallel lines, but today they also come in patterns of dots, concentric circles, and text codes hidden within images. Barcodes can be read by optical scanners called barcode readers or scanned from an image by special software. Barcodes are widely used to implement Auto ID Data Capture (AIDC) systems that improve the speed and accuracy of computerdata entry. An advantage over other methods of AIDC is that it is less expensive to implement. It will cost about US$0.005 to implement a barcode compared to passive RFID which still costs about US$0.07 to US$0.30 per tag.

History of Barcode

he first patent for a bar code type product (US Patent #2,612,994) was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver on October 7, 1952. Its implementation was made possible through the work of Raymond Alexander and Frank Stietz, two engineers with Sylvania (who were also granted a patent), as a result of their work on a system to identify railroad cars. It was not until 1966 that barcodes were put to commercial use and they were not commercially successful until the 1980s.While traditionally barcode encoding schemes represented only numbers, newer symbologies add new characters such as uppercase letters, or even the complete ASCII character set. The drive to encode more information in combination with the space requirements of simple barcodes led to the development of matrix codes (a type of 2D barcode), which do not consist of bars but rather a grid of square cells. Stacked barcodes are a compromise between true 2D barcodes and linear codes (also known as 1D barcodes), and are formed by taking a traditional linear symbology and placing it in an envelope that allows multiple rows.

Use of Barcode

Since their invention in the 20th century, barcodes - especially the UPC - have slowly become an essential part of modern civilization. Their use is widespread, and the technology behind barcodes is constantly improving. Some modern applications of barcodes include:

  • Practically every item purchased from a department store, and mass merchandiser has a barcode on it. This greatly helps in keeping track of the large number of items in a store and also reduces instances of shoplifting (since shoplifters could no longer easily switch price tags from a lower-cost item to a higher-priced one). Since the adoption of barcodes, both consumers and retailers have benefited from the savings generated.
  • Document Management tools often allow for barcoded sheets to facilitate the separation and indexing of documents that have been imaged in batch scanning applications.The tracking of item movement, including rental cars, airline luggage, nuclear waste, mail and parcels.
  • Recently, researchers have placed tiny barcodes on individual bees to track the insects' mating habits.
  • Many tickets now have barcodes that need to be validated before allowing the holder to enter sports arenas, cinemas, theatres, fairgrounds, transportation etc.
  • Used on automobiles, can be located on front or back.


Universal Product Code (UPC)

The best-known and most widespread use of barcodes has been on consumer products. The UPC symbol is a response to a business need first identified by the US grocery industry in the early 1970s. Believing that automating the grocery checkout process could reduce labor costs, improve inventory control, speed up the process, and improve customer service, six industry associations, representing both product manufacturers and supermarkets, created an industry wide committee of industry leaders. Their two-year effort resulted in the announcement of the Universal Product Code and the U.P.C. barcode symbol on April 1, 1973. The UPC Symbol that was chosen by the committee was a modified version of a symbol design that was submitted by IBM. IBM also designed five versions of the UPC symbology for future industry requirements - UPC A, B, C, D, and E. The U.P.C. made its first commercial appearance at the Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio in June 1974. Originally, the modern day bar code was developed to identify railroad cars. However, a toll bridge in New Jersey requested that a similar system be developed so that it could quickly scan for cars that had paid for a monthly pass. Then the U.S. Post Office requested that a similar system be developed so that it could keep track of which trucks had entered the yard and when. These applications required special retroreflective labels. Finally, KalKan dog food asked the Sylvania team to develop a simpler (and cheaper) version which they could put on cases of dog food for inventory control. This, in turn, led to the grocery industry's interest. Economic studies conducted for the grocery industry committee projected over $40 million in savings to the industry from scanning by the mid-1970s. Those numbers were not achieved in that time frame and there were those who predicted the demise of barcode scanning. The usefulness of the barcode required the adoption of expensive scanners by a critical mass of retailers while manufacturers simultaneously adopted barcode labels. Neither wanted to move first and results weren't promising for the first couple of years, with Business Week proclaiming "The Supermarket Scanner That Failed."


The mapping between messages and barcodes is called a symbology. The specification of a symbology includes the encoding of the single digits/characters of the message as well as the start and stop markers into bars and space, the size of the quiet zone required to be before and after the barcode as well as the computation of a checksum. Linear symbologies can be classified mainly by two properties:

  • Continuous vs. discrete: Characters in continuous symbologies usually abut, with one character ending with a space and the next beginning with a bar, or vice versa. Characters in discrete symbologies begin and end with bars; the intercharacter space is ignored, as long as it is not wide enough to look like the code ends.
  • Two-width vs. many-width: Bars and spaces in two-width symbologies are wide or narrow; how wide a wide bar is exactly has no significance as long as the symbology requirements for wide bars are adhered to (usually two to three times more wide than a narrow bar). Bars and spaces in many-width symbologies are all multiples of a basic width called the module; most such codes use four widths of 1, 2, 3 and 4 modules.

Some symbologies use interleaving. The first character is encoded using black bars of varying width. The second character is then encoded, by varying the width of the white spaces between these bars. Thus characters are encoded in pairs over the same section of the barcode. Interleaved 2 of 5 is an example of this. Stacked symbologies consist of a given linear symbology repeated vertically in multiple. There is a large variety of 2-D symbologies. The most common are matrix codes, which feature square or dot-shaped modules arranged on a grid pattern. 2-D symbologies also come in a variety of other visual formats. Aside from circular patterns, there are several 2-D symbologies which employ steganography by hiding an array of different-sized or -shaped modules within a user-specified image (for example, DataGlyphs).


Scanner/symbology interaction

Linear symbologies are optimized to be read by a laser scanner, which sweeps a beam of light across the barcode in a straight line, reading a slice of the bar code light-dark patterns. In the 1990s development of CCD imagers to read bar codes was pioneered by Welch Allyn. Imaging does not require moving parts, like a laser scanner does. In 2007, linear imaging is surpassing laser scanning as the preferred scan engine for its performance and durability. Stacked symbologies are also optimized for laser scanning, with the laser making multiple passes across the barcode. 2-D symbologies cannot be read by a laser as there is typically no sweep pattern that can encompass the entire symbol. They must be scanned by a camera capture device.

Scanners (barcode readers)

The earliest, and still the cheapest, barcode scanners are built from a fixed light and a single photosensor that is manually "scrubbed" across the barcode

Verifier (Pika inspection)

Barcode verifiers are primarily used by businesses that print barcodes, but any trading partner in the supply chain could test barcode quality. It is important to "grade" a barcode to ensure that any scanner in the supply chain can read the barcode. Retailers levy large fines and penalties for non-compliant barcodes. Barcode verifiers work in a way similar to a scanner but instead of simply decoding a barcode, a verifier performs a series of eight tests. Each test is given a grade from 0.0 to 4.0 (F to A) and the lowest of any of the tests is the scan grade. For most applications a 2.5 (C) grade is the minimum acceptable grade.

Barcode Verifier Standards

  • The original U.S. barcode quality specification was ANSI X3.182. UPC Codes used in the US ANSI/UCC5.
  • The current international barcode quality specification is ISO/IEC 15416 (linear bar codes) and ISO/IEC 15415 (2D barcodes)
  • The European Standard EN 1635 has been withdrawn and replaced by ISO/IEC 15416
  • Barcode verifiers should comply with the ISO 15426-1 (linear barcode verifier compliance standard) or ISO 15426-2 (2d barcode verifier compliance standard)

Barcode Verifier Manufacturers (partial list)

  • Code Corporation (linear and 2D)
  • RJS/Printronix (linear)
  • Hand Held Products (linear)
  • Webscan (linear and 2D)
  • Auto ID Solutions (2D)
  • Stratix (linear)
  • Axicon (linear)
  • REA Elektronik GmbH (linear)
  • Siemens (UID, Data Matrix(2D), linear)

Barcode Verifier Test Code Manufacturers ((traceable reflectance and linear measure) used to check proper function of verifiers)

  • Applied Image Inc. (Rochester, NY, USA)



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,
  • 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,
  • Historical data can be used to predict seasonal fluctuations very accurately.
  • Items may be repriced on the shelf to reflect both sale prices and price increases.

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.
  • Tracking results when shipments are sent to a Distribution Center (DC) before being forwarded to the final destination.
  • When the shipment gets to the final destination, the UID gets scanned, and the store knows where the order came from, what's inside the box, and how much to pay the manufacturer

The reason bar codes are business friendly is that bar code scanners are relatively low cost and extremely accurate ? only about 1/100,000 entries will be wrong.


Types of barcodes


A matrix code, also known as a 2D barcode or simply a 2D code, is a two-dimensional way of representing information. It is similar to a linear (1-dimensional) barcode, but has more data representation capability.

  • Linear barcodes 1D Barcodes
  • 2D barcodes

It is small enough to fit in people and animals

The idea of having a chip inside you might sound a little weird. But many people and animals, already do. It’s worth remembering that RFID tags can only be read when very close to a reader.

Identifying lost pets: One of the earliest domestic uses of RFID was to ‘chip’ pet dogs and cats. In the USA and Europe, many pets are implanted with an RFID tag when they’re a few weeks old. If the pet is found far from home after going missing, authorities can just scan the chip and find the owner’s contact information.

In Swedish office staff: In 2015, a Swedish office building started using RFID for security. Hundreds of people working at Epicenter volunteered to be chipped, so they could open doors and access secure equipment like photocopiers just by standing next to them. Now they’re permanently chipped!

1 in 3 Americans? According a 2014 Wyoming Institute of Technology study, one in three Americans could already be implanted with an RFID chip. In its sample of 2,995 people, 997 had an RFID implant. Most of the RFID chips found were apparently inside tooth fillings.

Implants aren’t the only way: Of course, people, don’t need to be ‘chipped’ to use RFID. In some hospitals, staff wear an RFID wristband that improves hygiene by tracking when they have washed their hands. At the end of the day they simply take it off.

It is making life easier

Perhaps the most exciting uses of RFID are those that promise to make everyday life more fun, and boring tasks quicker. RFID is already doing this in many ways.

Swipe-free passes: If you’ve visited Disney World Resort in Florida lately, you noticed the credit card-style tickets each feature a different Disney character. But they also have an RFID tag inside – and that’s why you can walk straight through barriers instead of having to show your ticket all the time.

No more lost golf balls: Sliced your shot wildly off the tee? With the right golf ball and a RadarGolf device, you won’t spend ages looking for it anymore. RFID will lead you straight to it… but there’s no guarantee you won’t need a drop!

Returning rentals faster: It’s the end of your vacation, and the long line at the car rental desk is going to make you miss your flight. With RFID-embedded cars and keys, you don’t need to wait. Just drop your keys in the box, and an RFID reader will log the time you returned them.

“That’s RFID”

These are just a handful of the amazing ways RFID is being used today. As it becomes ever cheaper and smaller, we’re bound to see even more creative uses of RFID.




1. RFID can identify individual objects at rates of over 1 000 tags per second

2. RFID is used in high tech, retail, manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment, and more.

3. RFID tags can be used on liquids and metals.

4. RFID readers can read information from and write information to tags.

5. UHF Gen2 is the fastest growing segment of the RFID market.

6. Taking inventory with an RFID handheld reader is 25x faster than with a barcode reader.

7. The UHF band is 60 times more efficient for RFID operations than the HF band.

8. UHF Gen2 tags are 2 to 3 times less expensive than HF tags because they are easier to manufacture.

9. UHF RFID is currently the only type of RFID to be regulated by a single global standart.

Contact us for more information about RFID & Barcode


S -4, Plot No-7, Pocket-7, Pankaj Plaza,
Near Metro Station, Sector-12,
Dwarka, New Delhi-110078, (India)

+91-11-46102688 DIRECT LINE

 Mobile: +91-9810822688, +91-9717122688


Fundamentals of RFID

What is RFID

RFID stands for Radio-Frequency Identification. The acronym refers to small electronic devices that consist of a small chip and an antenna. The chip typically is capable of carrying 2,000 bytes of data or less

The RFID device serves the same purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card; it provides a unique identifier for that object. And, just as a bar code or magnetic strip must be scanned to get the information, the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the identifying information.

How TO Works RFID

Related image

A basic RFID system has tags attached to all items that need to be tracked. Made from a tiny tag-chip, these tags are also known as integrated circuit (IC) and are connected to an antenna that can be built into various types of tags such as apparel hang tags, labels and security tags – but also industrial asset tags. In a nutshell, every tag chip contains memory that is stored in it and contains the basic product code (EPC) of the product and other necessary information allowing it to be tracked and identified by the UHF RFID scanner or reader everywhere.

On the other hand, the UHF RFID reader is a network-connected device which can either be fixed or mobile – and features an antenna that sends the power and receives signals as commands to the tags. In other words, it is an access point for RFID tagged items so that the tags data is made available to every business application.


RFID Frequency Rang

Related image

 Low Frequency (LF)

  High Frequency (HF)

  Ultra High Frequency (UHF)

125kHz, 134.2kHz

13.56 MHz (Global)

  1. – 928 MHz (Regionally dependent)


1.Low Frequency  RFID

The LF band covers frequencies from 30 KHz to 300 KHz. Regularly LF RFID systems work at 125 KHz, in spite of the fact that there are some that work at 134 KHz. This recurrence band gives a short read scope of 10 cm, and has slower perused speed than the higher frequencies, yet is not exceptionally delicate to radio wave impedance.

LF RFID applications incorporate access control and domesticated animals following.

Gauges for LF creature following systems are characterized in ISO 14223, and ISO/IEC 18000-2. The LF range is not viewed as a really worldwide application on account of slight contrasts in recurrence and power levels all through the world. Low-frequency tags have a long wave-length and are better able to penetrate thin metallic substances. Additionally, LF RFID systems are ideal for reading objects with high-water content, such as fruit or beverages, but the read range is limited to centimeters or inches. Typical LF RFID applications include access control and animal tagging.

2.High-frequency RFID

High Frequency (13.56 MHz) Used where medium data rate and read ranges up to about 1.5 meters are acceptable. High-frequency tags work fairly well on objects made of metal and can work around goods with medium to high water content. Typically, HF RFID systems work in ranges of inches,  Typical HF RFID applications include tracking library books, patient flow tracking, and transit tickets.

3.UHF frequency OF RFID

 Ultra High-Frequency (850 MHz to 950 MHz)  typically offer much better read range (inches to 50+ ft. depending on the RFID system setup) and can transfer data faster (i.e. read many more tags per second) than low- and high-frequencies. However, because UHF radio waves have a shorter wavelength, their signal is more likely to be attenuated (or weakened) and they cannot pass through metal or water. Due to their high data transfer rate, UHF RFID tags are well suited for many items at once, such as boxes of goods as they pass through a dock door into a warehouse or racers as they cross a finish line.  Also, due to the longer read range, other common UHF RFID applications include electronic toll collection and parking access control.

  • Applications for RFID within the supply chain can be found at multiple frequencies and different RFID solutions may be required to meet the varying needs of the marketplace. Since UHF (Ultra High Frequency) has the range to cover portals and dock-doors it is gaining industry support as the choice frequency for inventory tracking applications including pallets and cases.

RFID tags are further broken down into two categories:-

  • (a) Active RFID Tags are battery powered. They broadcast a signal to the reader and can transmit over the greatest distances (100+ meters). They can be used to track high value goods like vehicles and large containers of goods. Shipboard containers are a good example of an active RFID tag application.
  • (b) Passive RFID Tags do not contain a battery. Instead, they draw their power from the radio wave transmitted by the reader. The reader transmits a low power radio signal through its antenna to the tag, which in turn receives it through its own antenna to power the integrated circuit (chip). The tag will briefly converse with the reader for verification and the exchange of data. As a result, passive tags can transmit information over shorter distances (typically 3 meters or less) than active tags. They have a smaller memory capacity and are considerably lower in cost making them and ideal for tracking lower cost items.


There are two basic types of chips available on RFID tags, Read-Only and Read-Write:-

  •  Read only chips are programmed with unique information stored on them during the manufacturing process – often referred to as a „number plate? application. The information on read-only chips can not be changed.
  • Read-Write chips the user can add information to the tag or write over existing information when the tag is within range of the reader. Read-Write chips are more expensive than Read Only chips. Applications for these may include field service maintenance or „item attendant data? – where a maintenance record associated with a mechanical component is stored and 5 updated on a tag attached to the component. Another method used is called a "WORM" chip (Write Once Read Many). It can be written once and then becomes "Read only" afterwards.



S -4, Plot No-7, Pocket-7, Pankaj Plaza,
Near Metro Station, Sector-12,
Dwarka, New Delhi-110078, (India)

+91-11-46102688 DIRECT LINE 

Mobile:+91-9810822688, +91-9717122688

RFID vs. Barcodes

RFID vs Barcodes: RFID is not necessarily better than barcodes. The two are different technologies and have different applications, which sometimes overlap. In many circumstances, RFID offers advantages over traditional barcodes. The big difference between the two is that barcodes are line-of-sight technology. That is, a scanner has to “see” the barcode to read it, which means people usually have to orient the barcode toward a scanner for it to be read.

One advantage of RFID is that the technology doesn’t require line of sight. RFID tags can be read as long as they are within range of a reader. Barcodes have other shortcomings as well. If a label is ripped or soiled or has fallen off, there is no way to scan the item, and standard barcodes identify only the manufacturer and product, not the unique item. For example, the barcode on one milk carton is the same as every other, making it impossible to identify which one might pass its expiration date first.

See the table below for a direct comparison of the two technologies





Read Rate


High throughput. Multiple (>100) tags can be read simultaneously.


Very low throughput. Tags can only be read manually, one at a time.

Line of Sight


Not required. Items can be oriented in any direction, as long as it is in the read range, and direct line of sight is never required.


Definitely required. Scanner must physically see each item directly to scan, and items must be oriented in a very specific manner.

Human Capital


Virtually none. Once up and running, the system is completely automated.


Large requirements. Laborers must scan each tag.

Read/Write Capability


More than just reading. Ability to read, write, modify, and update.


Read only. Ability to read items and nothing else.


High. Much better protected, and can even be internally attached, so it can be read in

very harsh environments.

Low. Easily damaged or removed; cannot be read if dirty or greasy.


High. Difficult to replicate. Data can be encrypted, password protected, or include a “kill” feature to remove data permanently, so information stored is much more secure.

Low. Much easier to reproduce or counterfeit.

Event Triggering


Capable. Can be used to trigger certain events (like door openings, alarms, etc.).


Not capable. Cannot be used to trigger events.




Advantages of RFID | Disadvantages of RFID

  • Advantages of RFID

Following are the advantages of RFID:
?RFID tag and reader should not be in LOS to make the system work. 
?Unlike barcodes, tags can store more information. Moreover it follows instructions/commands of reader. 
?It provides location to the reader along with its ID. 
?RFID tags are used for tracking luggage as well as for monitoring health history of patients in the hospitals. 
?RFID technology is versatile in nature and hence smaller and larger RFID devices are available as per application. 
?Tags can be read only as well as read/write unlike barcodes. 
?The technology is used for security and attendance purpose in schools, colleges as well as office establishments. The time-in and time-out is recorded it the database of the server. 

  1. Disadvantages of RFID

Following are the disadvantages of RFID:
?Active RFID is costly due to use of batteries. 
?Privacy is a concern with the use of RFID on products as it can be easily tapped or intercepted. 
?RFID devices need to be programmed which requires enough amount of time. 
?Use of RFID technology at inventory control and for other such applications lead to loss of jobs for unskilled labourer. 
?The external electromagnetic interference can limit the RFID remote reading. 
?The coverage range of RFID is limited which is about 3 meters. 



The Wireless Planning and Coordination (WPC) wing of India's Ministry of Communication assigned the 865-867 MHz UHF band for use by radio frequency identification devices. The ruling was part of a process initiated by EPCglobal India, a joint industry-government initiative that is leading the development of electronic product code to support the use of RFID. 

"India has a strong export economy, so getting this spectrum was an absolute must," says Ravi Mathur, CEO of EPCglobal India, which is based in New Dehli. 

Clearing the spectrum in India will enable Indian manufacturers to tag shipments of goods to meet the UHF RFID requirements of customers in Europe and the United States. Prior to the ruling, each use of the UHF spectrum for RFID required special permission from the WPC. Until now, Mathur maintains, some Indian pharmaceutical companies supplying tagged shipments to Wal-Mart have been forced to do so after the products have already arrived in in the United States, where the UHF spectrum for RFID is 902 MHz to 928 MHz. Because Wal-Mart and other retailers are requiring more of their suppliers to tag shipments of goods, Indian companies will increasingly be expected to tag their exports, as well. 

Tags that comply with EPCglobal's Gen 2 standard are designed to operate between 860 MHZ to 960 MHz without degradation in performance. Thus, Indian companies will now find it much easier to encode and read tags on goods shipped, regardless of whether those goods are bound for the United States or Europe (where the UHF spectrum for RFIDis is 865 MHz to 868 MHz). 

Being able to use the 865-867 MHz UHF band for RFID will also be a boon to India's high-tech businesses. "The Indian software industry is in a position to be a major provider ofRFID systems solutions [to the United States and Europe], but it needs to be able to test and develop RFID. In addition, chip manufacturers are also in discussions about producingRFID chips in India. With the spectrum allocated, Indian companies can work with UHFRFID without requiring special clearance," says Mathur. 

EPCglobal India is also hoping to see an Indian university become one of the Auto-ID Labs—a federation of research universities that has evolved from the now-defunct Auto-ID Center and is dedicated to researching and developing new technologies and applications for revolutionizing global commerce. 

India had originally considered allocating 2.4 GHz as the spectrum for UHF RFID, butEPCglobal India argued that having UHF spectrum incompatible with that used by the United States, Europe and other key markets would have seriously limited the ability of India's businesses to stay in step with RFID adoption elsewhere around the world. 

"Our objective was to ensure that RFID spectrum in India would [provide] important access to the world markets," says Mathur. 

EPCglobal India says its petition to the WPC faced initial opposition from both India’s military and railways, which had previously had had access to the 865-867 MHz spectrum. In its application to the authority, EPCglobal says it was supported by allocation of the UHFspectrum that had already taken place in the United States and Europe.


S -4, Plot No-7, Pocket-7, Pankaj Plaza,
Near Metro Station, Sector-12,
Dwarka, New Delhi-110078, (India)

+91-11-46102688 DIRECT LINE

 Mobile: +91-9810822688, +91-9717122688