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Does a Windows Tablet PC's Barcode Scanning Speed Really Matter?

ruggedized windows tablet barcode scannerFor years there have been advances in barcode reading speed for 1D and 2D barcodes.  You start to ask yourself how much faster really matters.  Despite popular belief, users can distinguish even a tenth of a second difference in performance.  So with management pushing for more productivity and profit, users are less patient and they expect instantaneous results.

Even if your jobs don’t require intensive sub-second barcode reading, do you really care how fast a barcode can be read?  It all centers on user productivity and satisfaction because a happy employee means you have a better chance for happy customers and more revenue.  The move to Windows tablets with a much better user interface, higher performance and larger storage has raised the expectations so using a camera or an older scanner to read barcodes creates issues for users:

• Properly aligning with a barcode that is potentially placed as low as the floor to above the user’s head.

• To hold it within the right range for reading (some cameras cannot be used closer than 2” but no further away than 4”.

• To hold still enough so the image is not blurred and the bars appear sharp enough to decode.

The latest 2D barcode reading technologies have 2 major features that makes scanning a breeze even with a tablet:

1. As with all 2D barcode readers they are orientation independent, so unlike older laser scanners where you had to make the line go all the way across the barcode and the white space on either side, 2D sensors takes a picture.  Then the decoding software finds the barcode and decodes it.  So user no longer has alignment issues!

2. The newest high performance 2D barcode scanner has extreme motion tolerance, allowing them to take the image without blurring (remember those pictures you would try to take out the window of a moving car or tracking a player at a sporting event).  You could even read if you were running (which I am not advocating)!  This allows a user to trigger the scanner and then move to the barcode and it will read as soon as it is in the proper range.  No stopping required.

You have high dollar, highly productive users so for a nominal price you can have high performance scanning that will keep them happy!

As a bonus in this blog, there are 4 other ways to improve performance:

1. 2D barcodes take up less space and can be read at greater distances.

2. In your decoding software, turn off any barcode symbologies that you are not using and don’t want to read.  That will cut down on erroneous reads and will speed up your decoding.

3. If you are not reading 2D barcodes, then set your reader for 1D barcodes only.

4. If you are trying to read poor quality barcodes that you don’t control, you can relax some of the reading standards for bar growth, quiet zones, and contrast.  Generally this is not a good practice so we recommend only going to these measures after you have turned off unneeded barcode symbologies (step 2).

If you are not familiar with these terms and settings you should contact your sales person for greater explanation and help in setting up your barcode scanning.

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