What was the first item with a barcode? It’s been over 50 years, but we still buy it today

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According to Arnold Lukošiaus, Tele2’s Innovation Expert, bar code technology has quickly become a way to efficiently manage product flows, and now provides even more opportunities to live smarter.

Success took time

“Barcode is a symbol that can be found on almost every product you buy. Barcode technology, developed over several decades, has turned from a simple inventory management solution into a global standard, playing an important role in supply chains, retail trade and various industries,” says A. Lukošius.

The first patent for a system that uses coded patterns to represent data was issued in 1949. by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver. Their invention was aimed at automating the checkout process in shopping centers and meeting the growing need for faster and more accurate inventory management.

However, the first commercially successful barcode system did not appear until the 20th century. in the sixties. The Universal Product Code (UPC), invented by George Laurer, was introduced in 1974. and debuted at a mall in Troy, Ohio. Wrigley’s chewing gum packaging became the first product to be scanned using a barcode.

Different types and standards of barcodes have been developed for different industries and applications. The most common bar code symbologies are UPC, 128 code, 39 code, and QR codes, each used for specific purposes, from retail to logistics to healthcare.

“The adoption of standardized barcodes has facilitated work efficiency and ensured a smooth flow of information across various systems. This interaction became very important because the companies expanded on a global scale, which made it possible to effectively track and manage products in the global market”, assures A. Lukošius.

Progress does not stop

20th century at the end of the 21st century barcode technology has improved greatly. The introduction of two-dimensional (2D) barcodes, such as QR codes, allowed more data to be stored in a smaller space, opening up new applications for codes beyond traditional retail.

“Mobile technology has played a fundamental role in integrating barcodes into everyday life. Smartphones with cameras have become powerful barcode scanning tools, allowing consumers to get information, compare prices and even make purchases directly from their mobile devices,” observes the expert.

According to him, barcode technology remains an integral part of global trade, improving supply chain management, inventory control and customer experience. From healthcare to the manufacturing industry, barcode technology, which has no replacement yet, increases efficiency and reduces errors.

“Looking to the future, barcode technologies offer exciting opportunities. As the Internet of Things (IoT) technology expands, barcodes will play a critical role in bridging the physical and digital worlds. It is likely that improved security functions, real-time monitoring and increased data capacity will determine the further progress of barcode technology,” says A. Lukošius.

The article is in Lithuanian

Tags: item barcode years buy today

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