Barcode scanners have become an essential tool that improves the productivity of transport and logistics companies. However, knowing how to choose the most suitable device remains a common question for many companies that integrate technologies such as augmented reality (AR) or big data into their operations.
Thanks to the software and smart technologies built into today’s smartphones, barcode scanners have become easier to use than ever. With most people familiar with the use of these devices, their integration into logistics companies allows for greater employee adoption, improved performance and reduced costs.
Smartphones are capable of improving and simplifying day-to-day tasks, including managing inventory or finding, locating, and reorganizing products, but not all devices adapt equally to the environmental conditions existing in the work environment. Against this background, Scandit, the leader in mobile computer vision and augmented reality (AR), shares five tips to keep in mind when choosing the most suitable barcode scanning device.
The first step in finding the right device is to identify the specific needs of each business, but in addition, there are some aspects of the built-in camera that you should pay attention to and ask yourself the following questions if you want to make the right decision:
1) Does the camera adapt quickly to changes in lighting?
When scanning a barcode, it is essential to have optimal lighting conditions, however, barcodes are located in heterogeneous and highly changing scenarios. This is why scanners have to react quickly to light conditions and adapt to different angles, so the speed at which a camera can adjust exposure settings is very important.
LED flashes are useful for capturing images where there is a lack of light, but in the case of barcodes, the glare they generate can prevent them from being read. Barcode scanning software works best on a camera with a longer shutter speed in low light conditions and has an image stabilization feature to prevent barcode blur.
2) Are you able to target the packaging or product correctly?
Some built-in cameras have difficulty adjusting and maintaining focus on the object to be scanned. Therefore, when selecting a device, you should choose one that has fast and stable autofocus which allows you to speed up the scanning process.
3) Does your software have image enhancement?
Smartphone cameras usually have a built-in algorithm system that improves the image. While this feature can be useful for beautifying artistic photos, it tends to soften and distort lines, which can interfere with the readability of the barcode.
To ensure correct barcode reading and get the most out of your smartphone, it should be verified that any image enhancement features can be turned off.
4) Can the camera focus on low contrast objects, such as barcodes printed at very small scale?
Not all barcode scanning software is capable of reading barcodes of all quality, regardless of their size or background. This is why the ability to capture images with good resolution is so important.
A camera that allows exposure control is essential for recognizing codes smaller than 0.13mm in diameter or placed on dark backgrounds, as is often the case in consumer products.
5) Can you focus on multiple elements at the same time?
In many cases, reading bar codes quickly and accurately can reduce time and money spent on routine tasks by up to 40%, especially when using augmented reality technologies.
In order to be able to focus on several elements at once and provide the barcode reader software with all the necessary information, it is essential that the processor of the smartphone has a high speed. Today, there are many devices with processors up to 3.0 GHz, so the options are endless.
“When looking for the best device to use for barcode reading applications, you need to go beyond megapixels and consider things like shutter speed, focus, exposure or the resolution of the camera. On the other hand, having a good SDK (Software Development Kit) is essential to guarantee optimal performance of the application under difficult conditions, whatever the device used ”, explains Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit.