GS1 Transitions to the Next Dimension: 2D Barcodes

March 1, 2023 by Macie Blakeman | BLOG

GS1 Standards Opens New Window are the most used system of barcodes throughout the world. The organization is well known for its standardization of the 1D barcode, which is used by almost all industries to identify products and streamline daily operations. Now, GS1 is shifting its standards from 1D barcodes to 2D barcodes. It's important to know why this change is being made and how it will impact your business.

What are 1D Barcodes?

1D (one-dimensional or linear) barcodes are the black and white striped pattern we are used to seeing on products we purchase.

1D barcodes are found on most consumer products, including food products, appliances, and clothing.

These codes comprise a series of lines with different widths and spacing. It's within these lines and spaces that information is encoded. Encoding is read from left to right, with a limit of approximately 20-25 characters. A 1D barcode works by being read on a scanner which interprets the encoded information, which can be product information, pricing, or even general inventory information.

The Rise of 2D Barcodes

Even though 1D barcodes are still popular in many industries, GS1 expects retail to fully shift to 2D barcodes by 2027. A 2D barcode uses shapes, patterns, and dots, which encrypt information both horizontally and vertically. One major benefit to 2D barcodes is that they can encrypt more characters in the same amount of space as a 1D barcode. The most well-known 2D barcode is the QR code, but others include Data Matrix and PDF417.

Benefits of 2D barcodes include:

  • Use on very small items (circuit boards, surgical instruments, etc.)
  • Can encrypt website addresses, images, binary dat
  • Have the ability to serve multiple purposes simultaneously
  • Can store up to 7,000 digits or 4,000 characters
  • Can be scanned at almost any angle, making scanning a quick process
  • Prices/data can be changed quickly
  • Help improve marketing strategies (mobile marketing)

2D barcodes are becoming more popular within the retail industry because of the improved efficiency of daily operations as well as the benefits to consumers. Inventory can be managed more effectively using 2D barcodes as they store more product information, including color, weight, arrival date, and expiration days, if applicable.

2D barcodes allow retailers to provide significantly more information throughout the purchasing process, which is vital as consumers constantly demand to know more about their products. 2D barcodes also allow for greater consumer engagement with businesses as they can scan barcodes on their smartphones and receive coupons, rewards, and other promotions that keep them coming back.

2D barcodes are widely used in:

  • Advertising
  • Retail operations (Inventory, POS, Loyalty Programs)
  • Physical ID cards, digital IDs, and other mobile credentials
  • Linking URLs to websites

The transition from 1D barcodes to 2D barcodes has clear benefits, and businesses, especially those in the retail sector, should be ready to make the switch.

Are you Prepared for the Next Dimension?

2D barcodes require more enhanced scanners and readers than 1D barcodes. Most businesses today are equipped with 1D linear barcode scanners but will eventually need to upgrade their data capture solutions as 2D barcode adoption increases. The next dimension is around the corner, and businesses need to be equipped with the right devices if they don't want to be left behind.

For businesses that need to gradually shift from 1D to 2D barcodes, some scanners read both. Socket Mobile's SocketScan S720 Opens Worldwide Website (AU, EMEA, UK) was created with this gradual transition in mind. The S720 is designed to scan traditional linear one-dimensional (1D) barcodes, as well as newer two-dimensional (2D) barcodes - "QR Codes. " This allows users to read/accept both types of technologies and creates a seamless upgrade path toward 2D adoption.

Being prepared for the new wave of 2D barcode adoption will have a positive impact on businesses worldwide, enabling a more advanced data capture experience for all those involved. So, are you ready for the next dimension?

Learn More about Socket Mobile's S720 1D/2D Linear Barcode Plus QR Code Reader Opens Worldwide Website (AU, EMEA, UK) and how your business can seamlessly upgrade to 2D barcode adoption.

Try it free.

Test out our data reading and scanning technology for free with SocketCam. The SocketCam C820 lets you scan directly into your feature application using the camera on your mobile device, ensuring high-performance scanning without the need for an external barcode scanner.