Barcodes

A print based tag technology that represents data with colored (often black) or white space to store bulk or variable text.

Several different barcode formats exist, each with its intended usage, features and limitations. Barcodes can either be 1D (one dimensional) and represent data using lines or 2D (two dimensional) and represent data as pixels.

qr code barcode

Cost

Barcodes are very cheap to produce compared to other tag technologies; typically under $0.01 per barcode. The low cost of barcodes makes them a good choice for lower value products.

Security

Barcodes offer no security features; they are trivial to clone. Barcodes should not be used to store sensitive information or be used for anti-cloning or anti-counterfeiting.

Dimensionality

Barcode formats come in two sets; 1-dimensional barcodes (1D) and two-dimensional barcodes (2D).

  • 1D barcodes are often used for application specific purposes (retail checkout, shipping tracking numbers…) and usually store an id (sku, UPC, unique id…)
  • 2D barcodes are used to store more data than 1d barcodes (URL) and are used by both consumers (consumer engagement) and proprietary applications