GS1: The bar code is 50 years old and changing our lives again

Since its introduction in 1973, the barcode has been used on more than a billion products and the “beep” at the cash register is a universal sound that everyone knows. Although this technology has been with us for five decades, it still has a promising future. The next generation of barcodes is now ready.

Barcodes – according to file BBC “One of the most important inventions of the 20th century” – it has irrevocably changed the way we shop, says GS1. In the past, cashiers had to manually enter prices, which led to long lines and errors. The bar code also improved inventory accuracy and replenishment speed, and empty shelves decreased. Barcodes have also opened the door to new technologies, such as self-checkout, where consumers scan and pay for items.

Dutch touch on the barcode
Albert Heine brought the barcode to the Netherlands after a visit to the United States. In 1976, the first Dutch barcode was scanned on a packet of Douwe Egberts coffee in a supermarket in Heemskerk. Mr. Albert Hagen himself said at the time: “I looked at the first scan with relief and thought: Oh my God, it really works.”

The next generation is ready
The next generation of bar codes, such as Standard Link QR Codes (GS1 Digital Link), will revolutionize our lives. Miriam Karmigelt, CEO, GS1 Netherlands: ‘Want to know the story of a product and where it comes from?’ Does it contain allergens or is it organic? How can it be recycled? If you scan a QR code that contains a unified link with an article code, you can give and receive answers to all these questions. Instead of linking to just one website, as is common today, you can link to an infinite number of sources. Thus it is no longer necessary to put different bar codes on the package.

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QR code as a key to digital transformation
Two-dimensional bar codes (also known as a QR code) connect the physical and online worlds together and provide access to a world of data about everyday products like peanut butter, drills or jeans. These new tokens can provide access to unprecedented amounts of information to help businesses, legislators, consumers and patients make better decisions and get better information.

For example, QR codes help legislators trace product origins and ensure product safety. For consumers, this helps them make informed purchasing decisions and find products that meet their needs. For patients, it helps keep track of their medical history and obtain important health information. Producers can connect consumers with additional information or loyalty programs.

global ambition
It has been agreed by companies around the world that the two-dimensional barcode will be widely accepted and used in retail by 2027. Karmiggelt: “Given all the advantages of the new barcodes, nothing should stand in the way of manufacturers and retailers from using them Now.If we move to the next generation of barcodes with the GS1 standard, we can actually use this technology for an efficient and sustainable economy, more sustainable shopping for consumers and patient safety.For 50 years, we have been an indispensable part of the business community or the healthcare sector. We will continue to provide that added value.

Miriam Karmigelt, CEO, GS1 Netherlands

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