1D, 2D & NFC Barcodes


1D Barcode – Simple But Antiquated & Outdated

1D barcodes are classic. They are found everywhere from the grocery store to the electronics you buy online, and are very standardized. 1D barcodes are simple and easy to use, but the drawback is they are very limited in the amount of data they can hold. With new advancements in barcode technology, the future of 1D barcodes remains uncertain. The major issue is they only can contain numbers and no extra data. This works well for basic  categorization of data by cross-referencing numbers in a lookup table, however if you are looking for anything extra you won’t be able to add it into a 1D barcode. Also, with new items to market going with 2D or NFC barcodes, you may have to re-vamp your system in the near future.

QR Code

2D / QR barcodes – High Density & Reliable

There are many different types of 2D barcodes, but the most popular is the QR code. What makes this barcode differ from 1D is it’s data capability. Thousands of characters including URL’s can be contained in a 2D barcode – in fact a typical 2D barcode can represent up to about 2000 characters of information. Another key improvement from a 1D barcode is that a 2D barcode can undergo significant damage and still relay the information contained in it, where a 1D barcode is useless if damaged or rendered unreadable. 2D barcodes have become synonymous with our mobile world, in fact they can be scanned with a simple code reader on most mobile phones. This is a huge bonus as you don’t need to purchase special hardware or systems to read your barcode. Many advertisements and events will now even feature a QR code so people can quickly scan and have all the information they need at their fingertips. A last highlight of 2D barcodes is the ability to encrypt data – and therefore protect it.


NFC – Near Field Communication

The technology that allows you to tap your credit card for a purchase can be used for much more than buying a new pair of shoes. NFC is the future of transmittable technology, and will soon be used in hardware and products around the globe. While NFC will likely never replace the barcode, it will be used to compliment it. NFC supports up to 709 characters, and what makes it special is not only the ability to transmit data directly to your device, but that is can tell your device exactly what to do with that data For instance if the NFC carried a URL, your device would automatically open up that website. NFC also allows for encryption during transfer.


Why Not All?! 2D + NFC + Plain Text

It is possible to incorporate more that one barcode system at once. For instance, you can have a NFC sticker to support TAP and also have a 2D/QR on the top. Additionally if we use a label format, you could have human readable labels as well… Ultimately for efficiency and preparing for the future this is the best option, as NFC will save time, and as a 3rd fall back option there is always a human readable label. When thinking about  incorporating a new barcode system all of this can be done at the same time to save cost and be future compatible no matter what comes along

Don’t retro-fit your current system… Future proof!

Manual System

::label only

>> currently only has human readable text, and it’s major flaw is it’s hard to track where it is and with whom.

File Folder

Label Cost:

→ $0.01~$0.05

Hardware Required:

→ Standard sticker printer

Retrofitted Barcodes

::Label + 1D

Its very common for companies to just slap a barcode on their files and use that to scan. This requires a database of all the files to associate any pertinent information.

Label Cost:

→ $0.03~$0.05

Hardware Required:

→ Standard sticker printer

Enhanced Flexibility

:Label + 1D + 2D

If you already have an existing label and possibly a 1d barcode, you could easily incorporate 2D barcodes to add additional support/flexibility

Label Cost:→


Hardware Required:

→ Standard sticker printer

Future Proof

::Label + 1D + 2D + NFC

Print standard human readable label, with a 1d barcode to support older systems, and include a 2D/QR barcode to support newer systems, while including NFC to support future growth and tracking.

Label Cost:

→ $0.05~$0.10

Hardware Required:

→ Specialized NFC encoder/printer