Happy 40th Birthday, Barcode. You haven’t aged a bit!

Today I clicked on an article published by Business Solutions Magazine entitled, “The Bar Code Turns 40” written by Cheryl Knight. It can be viewed here: http://shar.es/M6DGV.    

It’s hard to believe, really.

I have been in this industry for 10 years, which must seem like a blip in time to some of my esteemed colleagues and friends who have experienced the long-term growth and history of this dynamic business. As a relative newcomer, there are two distinctly opposite observations I find most fascinating about the barcode’s 40th anniversary.

On the one hand, I am somewhat surprised at its continued and growing usage.  When I first got into this business, the talk was that the barcode would go away and be replaced by RFID.  Fast forward 10 years and we see that the barcode is still the standard technology for auto identification and tracking. Nothing against RFID–in fact, I am glad to see it finally gaining traction. I have always maintained that you need redundancy in tracking, and this means barcodes, numeric serialization, RFID, etc.  Multiple layers of identification need to be present in case one fails. It’s Supply Chain’s Plan B.

On the other hand is the fact that, despite how prevalent the barcode seems today (you see it on everything from apples at the grocery story to your closing documents on a mortgage refinance) there are STILL many industries and applications NOT using a barcode tracking system. After 40 years, one would think that the barcode system would be a saturated technology.

I guess this is cause for celebration for us and other industry players.  Yes, evolution and innovation may likely replace the barcode eventually, but what is clearly apparent is that the technology has been versatile enough to meet the requirements of multiple industries across the globe to last 40 years and beyond. I’ve only got 30 more years to go to match that accomplishment.

Happy 40th Birthday, Barcode.  You haven’t aged a bit!

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