Barcode: The Pioneer Auto-ID Technology

Barcode: The Pioneer Auto-ID Technology

Katina Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia) and M.G. Michael (University of Wollongong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-795-9.ch005
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Abstract

Of all the auto-ID technologies in the global market today, barcode is the most widely used. In 1994, Cohen (p. 55) wrote “...barcode technology is clearly at the forefront of automatic identification systems and is likely to stay there for a long time.” It is estimated by GS1, that there are over 5 billion barcode reads each day. Despite complementary and supplementary technologies entering the barcode space, Cohen’s statement still holds true. Palmer (p. 9) agreed in 1995, that “barcode ha[d] become the dominant automatic identification technology”. Ames (1990, p. G-1) defines the barcode as: “an automatic identification technology that encodes information into an array of adjacent varying width parallel rectangular bars and spaces.” The technology’s popularity can be attributed to its application in retail, specifically in the identification and tracking of consumer goods. Before the barcode, only manual identification techniques existed. Handwritten labels or carbon-copied paper were attached or stuck to ‘things’ needing identification. In 1932 the first study on the automation of supermarket checkout counters was conducted by Wallace Flint. Subsequently in 1934 a patent was filed presenting barcode-type concepts (Palmer, 1995, p. 11) by Kermode and his colleagues. The patent described the use of four parallel lines as a means to identify different objects.
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Historical Overview

Of all the auto-ID technologies in the global market today, barcode is the most widely used. In 1994, Cohen (p. 55) wrote “...barcode technology is clearly at the forefront of automatic identification systems and is likely to stay there for a long time.” It is estimated by GS1, that there are over 5 billion barcode reads each day. Despite complementary and supplementary technologies entering the barcode space, Cohen’s statement still holds true. Palmer (p. 9) agreed in 1995, that “barcode ha[d] become the dominant automatic identification technology”. Ames (1990, p. G-1) defines the barcode as: “an automatic identification technology that encodes information into an array of adjacent varying width parallel rectangular bars and spaces.”

The technology’s popularity can be attributed to its application in retail, specifically in the identification and tracking of consumer goods. Before the barcode, only manual identification techniques existed. Handwritten labels or carbon-copied paper were attached or stuck to ‘things’ needing identification. In 1932 the first study on the automation of supermarket checkout counters was conducted by Wallace Flint. Subsequently in 1934 a patent was filed presenting barcode-type concepts (Palmer, 1995, p. 11) by Kermode and his colleagues. The patent described the use of four parallel lines as a means to identify different objects.

In 1959 a group of railroad research and development (R&D) managers (including GTE Applied Research Lab representatives) met in Boston to solve some of the rail industry’s freight problems. By 1962 Sylvania (along with GTE) had designed a system which was implemented in 1967 using color barcode technology (Collins & Whipple, 1994, p. 8). In 1968, concentrated efforts began to develop a standard for supermarket point-of-sale which culminated in the RCA developing a bull’s eye symbol to be operated in the Kroger store in Cincinnati in 1972 (Palmer, 1995, p. 12). Until then, barcodes in retail were only used for order picking at distribution centers (Collins & Whipple, 1994, p. 10). But it was not the bull’s eye barcode that would dominate but the Universal Product Code (UPC) standard. The first UPC barcode to cross the scanner was on a packet of Wrigley’s chewing gum at Marsh’s supermarket in Ohio in June 1974 (Brown, 1997, p. 5). Within two years the vast majority of retail items in the United States carried a UPC.

Complete Chapter List

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Dedication
Table of Contents
Foreword
Elaine Lawrence
Acknowledgment
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Chapter 1
Introduction  (pages 1-24)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This study is concerned with the automatic identification (auto-ID) industry which first came to prominence in the early 1970s. Auto-ID belongs to... Sample PDF
Introduction
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Chapter 2
Innovation Studies  (pages 25-42)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter will explore literature in the field of innovation in order to establish a conceptual framework for the auto-ID trajectory research.... Sample PDF
Innovation Studies
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Chapter 3
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter takes the reader through a historical tour of identification techniques from ancient times to the present. The histories shed light on... Sample PDF
Historical Background: From Manual Identification to Auto-ID
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Chapter 4
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
National security measures can be defined as those technical and non-technical measures that have been initiated as a means to curb breaches in... Sample PDF
Globalization and the Changing Face of IDentification
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Chapter 5
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Of all the auto-ID technologies in the global market today, barcode is the most widely used. In 1994, Cohen (p. 55) wrote “...barcode technology is... Sample PDF
Barcode: The Pioneer Auto-ID Technology
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Chapter 6
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Almost simultaneously that the retail industry underwent revolutionary changes with the introduction of bar code, the financial industry adopted... Sample PDF
Magnetic-Stripe Cards: The Consolidating Force
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Chapter 7
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
The history of the smart card begins as far back as 1968. By that time magnetic-stripe cards while not widespread, had been introduced into the... Sample PDF
Smart Cards: The Next Generation
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Chapter 8
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Biometrics is not only considered a more secure way to identify an individual but also a more convenient technique whereby the individual does not... Sample PDF
Biometrics: In Search of a Foolproof Solution
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Chapter 9
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Radio frequency identification (RFID) in the form of tags or transponders is a means of auto-ID that can be used for tracking and monitoring... Sample PDF
RFID Tags and Transponders: The New Kid on the Block
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Chapter 10
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter analyses the findings from the case studies on bar codes, magnetic-stripe cards, smart cards, biometrics and RFID tags and... Sample PDF
The Auto-ID Technology System
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Chapter 11
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter is about geographic information systems (GIS) and its relevance to the location-based services industry. One might initially ask how... Sample PDF
Geographic Information Systems & Location-Based Services
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Chapter 12
The Auto-ID Trajectory  (pages 329-363)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter considers the automatic identification (auto-ID) trajectory within the context of converging disciplines to predict the realm of likely... Sample PDF
The Auto-ID Trajectory
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Chapter 13
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
The number of automatic identification (auto-ID) technologies being utilized in eBusiness applications is growing rapidly. With an increasing trend... Sample PDF
The Socio-Ethical Implications of Automatic Identification and Location Services
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Chapter 14
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
When Jacques Ellul (1964, p. 432) predicted the use of “electronic banks” in his book, The Technological Society, he was not referring to the... Sample PDF
The Rise of the Electrophorus
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Chapter 15
Uberveillance  (pages 464-484)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
Uberveillance, also überveillance, is an above and beyond, an exaggerated, an almost omnipresent 24/7 electronic surveillance. It is a surveillance... Sample PDF
Uberveillance
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Chapter 16
Conclusion  (pages 485-496)
Katina Michael, M.G. Michael
This chapter is dedicated to identifying the main outcomes of the study and reflections on the future directions of the technologies that were under... Sample PDF
Conclusion
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Acronyms and Abbreviations
About the Contributors