Bar Code Symbologies - Linear

Bar code symbologies are relevant to the Internet of Things as data carriers for identifiers. The relevance of any particular technology and standard to the Internet of Things depends on the application definition of the "identifier". This does not need to be a unique level of "instance of" although some linear symbologies and their applications already achieve this.

 Linear bar code symbologies have two limiting constraints:

* The range of human-readable characters that they can support. This spans from numeric-only symbologies to those that can support full ASCII and even the extended Latin alphabet. It is important not to discard numeric-only symbologies because some of these are used in applications that already support functions that can be considered as IoT services.
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The absolute length of the symbol, where longer symbols present greater challenges for data capture.

A perceived problem for applications that use linear bar code symbologies is that there are very few mechanisms incorporated in the symbology standard that enable encoded data to be distinguished between domains. However, there are two ways that it is possible to link the data capture domain to IoT services to provide a highly robust context:

  • A few symbologies, such as EAN-13 are used exclusively in retail distribution data capture. As such, this symbol is already used in mobile phone data capture systems for IoT services, for example to establish whether a particular food product is suitable for a person with an allergy or health condition. There are a few other symbologies that have a one-to-one mapping with an application.  
  • Even general purpose symbologies, when used in a specific application such as airline baggage handling, has been linked to a whole series of industry-specific services which are gradually rolling out to impact on the individual passenger. In such cases the density of a particular symbology in a given implementation can be used as a high probability of defining the context. Specific symbologies are called out by application standards and this is increases the certainty that the symbology is relevant.
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