Magazine Article | September 19, 2011

Opportunity Thrives Where Bar Coding Meets Mobility

By Gennifer Biggs, Business Solutions magazine.

VARs have several paths to choose from when it comes to trends in bar coding, but they all involve greater knowledge of mobility and its growing place in the business world.

It is hard to talk about technology — any technology — without the impact of mobility popping up in the conversation. Bar coding is no different, but where a VAR can take that intersection of mobility and bar coding, well, that is where the fun begins. To guide us through that potential opportunity, three vendors have shared their insight: Honeywell Scanning and Mobility, Intermec, and Motorola Solutions.

What is the most significant trend in bar coding that VARs should know about?
Taylor Smith, director of product management, Honeywell:
One of the most significant trends in bar coding is the growing popularity of mobile phone reading, or the ability to read bar codes directly from the screen of a phone or other digital screen. At the point of sale, mobile coupons, digital loyalty cards, and electronic gift cards are being presented by customers. Mobile bar codes are also being used in other industries; for instance, some airline carriers allow passengers to board using a mobile boarding pass.
John Britts, senior director, advanced data capture, Motorola:
The use of mobile bar codes on cell phones is expanding rapidly. Consumers no longer want to carry all those plastic reward key fobs on their key ring, clip paper coupons, or remember to use their gift cards. These items can easily be aggregated within mobile phone applications to help the consumer organize these daily routines.

When it comes to mobile bar coding, which vertical currently presents the best opportunity for VARs?
Anderson: Field sales has the highest compound annual growth rate at over 10.2% and is pretty fragmented from a solution set offering, but has a high penetration rate of smartphones, so they should be ripe for moving up to rugged devices that are similar to smartphones in size.

What are some pitfalls VARs run into when selling/implementing mobile bar-coding solutions?
Smith: The single largest pitfall is the understanding and implementation of wireless technologies and connectivity. This is an ever-evolving area, and many find it challenging to effectively utilize the proper technology.