We recently caught up with Cedric Mollon, of the Intermec Data Capture division in France. Mr. Mollon spoke with us about the on-going rise in imaging scanner adoption. Intermec, a company that was originally founded in 1966 as Interface Mechanisms, has been in the data capture business since the 1970s and has a division that specializes in the OEM scan engine business. This group is comprised of 40-45 people who are completely focused on this niche. The team had been a startup in the 1990s, and was later acquired by Intermec. So, what about the rise in the use of 2d bar codes and imaging scanner sales? According to Mollon, the smartphone is just the tip of the the iceberg for demand creation. The 2d bar code is now being used at every level of industry - manufacturing, retail, healthcare, mobility, gaming, and the reason it is being used more and more often, is the increasing affordability and functionality of the technology.Are laser scanners going away? we wondered? No - according to Mollon, but due to customer habit, the decline is accelerating now.
The specific reasons behind the rise in sales are numerous. The 2d imaging scanner does much more than simply read and decode a bar code, - it can capture a signature and upload it instantly, it can read a drivers license, a VIN code on a car, it can take digital pictures - and store those images for retrieval and use at a later time. 2D imaging scanners can shoot video, scan documents and process the scanned data. These capabilities enable business processes that were unattainable with older technologies. And, it naturally follows that some of these new business processes will have a very high ROI. This chart, provided by Intermec, illustrates the increasing value add capabilities possible with 2d imaging scanners.
Some of the key features and benefits of 2d imaging scanners:
* Does not require a specific orientation when using a scanner. a 1d scanner requires that the laser be moving directly across the bar, which takes time in retail. 2d images can be read in any direction and then are decoded automatically by the software in the scanner.
* 2d imaging scanners can read bar codes from as far as 50 feet away, or more.
* 2d imaging scanners can read bar codes moving as fast as 12 meters per second.
* 2d imaging scanners can take pictures - of signatures, the condition of packages, vehicles, delivery locations and documents.
* In retail environments, some vendors are using 2d imaging scanners to take a picture and store an image of a drivers license as a requirement for liquor purchases - this way they have proof of age verification permanently on record!
With all these features and benefits, its easy to see why 2d imaging scanners are growing rapidly, penetrating the space of the traditional 1d laser scanner, and even making new business processes possible. The benefits obtainable with the use of a 2d barcode scanner seem to make it certain that imaging scanners eventually will completely cannabalize the 1d scanner market.
Intermec Inc, is a publicly traded company on the NYSE (IN).
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