Based on many support requests for GS1 barcodes in our Prisym Design software, we decided in 2013 to take the step to an iPhone app. This app should enable our customers to easily check a label with a GS1 barcode for compliance with the requirements of the GS1 specification.
The app was released in the AppStore in 2014 and has slowly developed into the standard app for the GS1 barcode evaluation. This has driven to an additional development for Android smartphones starting in 2016, so that the app is also available in the PlayStore since 2017.
As real life in business, this opens a development area to us, we didn't expected before. Due to the usage of the Barcode Check in Europe and the USA, some requests for implementation of mobile projects with a focus on barcode reading and data acquisition were coming in. Sometimes things happens by chance and brings the missing green puzzle piece into the overall package.
On implementation of these projects, mostly realized in the USA, we were able to convince with quick reaction times on change requests and through engaged project management. In case of mobile apps in particular, new ideas and changes to the requirements can quickly modify the project path during development. Projects done with large development teams, such changes are often expensive to integrate or even impossible without a project scope change. Our small development team can't handle huge mobile projects, but for small and middle size projects you will get lot of KnowHow and an engaged team...
With this project in the USA, the incoming goods of the suppliers should be checked in random samples for correct labeling. In addition to visual checks on the packaging and barcode height, this also includes correct labeling with GS1 barcodes. There was an exact layout specification, provided to the suppliers with detailed specifications and these had to be implemented in the identifiers of the GS1 barcodes.
A general GS1 compliance check has been made and the identifiers from the layout specification where tested in detail. The results are sent from the app to a central server together with comments from the worker in case if failures. This results on the server are used for supplier ranking and in the event of critical errors, also led to a return delivery to the supplier.
This project, which was also implemented in the USA, are dedicated to scanning of Datamatrix barcodes on pipes. Since these pipelines are mostly made of metal or plastic, the DotPen technique (punching points to generate the Datamatrix code) or laser technique is used to apply the Datamatrix. A special challenge was, that the barcode should still be readable in the event of repairs to pipes that have already been installed.
When we were looking for a barcode scanning technology, that could read dirty or rusted Datamatrix codes and deal with curved barcodes on reflective surfaces, we end up with the systems made by Cognex. These products managed all scanning task even with destroyed barcodes, so we integrated this technology in the app. As a result of the barcode scan, the user could see important key data for the product together with installation instructions and test certificates as PDF files, which are saved in a central database. The possibility of offline use has also been implemented through synchronization, so that usage in the field without celluar connection is possible.
We are constantly working on updating our existing apps in the AppStore and PlayStore. This also includes the adaptation when new specifications launched, in particular for the GS1 specification, which are usually updated once a year.
Our smaller apps such as HIBC Check for checking HIBC barcodes in the pharmaceutical industry and medical technology, as well as the RawCodeScan for displaying unreadable control characters in barcodes, are often a useful help. These tools in particular make working with barcodes easier and are available for the price of a cappuccino in the AppStore or PlayStore