Another direction being taken by bar codes is the deployment of the “2-D” (two-dimensional) version. Unlike 1-D UPC codes that consist of a series of parallel lines, the 2-D codes come in patterns of squares, dots, hexagons and other geometric patterns. They also hold more data than the 1-D codes.
Last month, J.C. Penney and Cellfire announced that the retailer would be offering downloadable cell phone coupons with 2-D bar codes that could be read at the POS with a Motorola handheld digital imager scanner. “You need an imager to read the 2-D code,” said Frank Riso, senior director of retail, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions. Currently, flatbed laser scanners used by food retailers scan only 1-D codes.
However, over the next three years, John Wilson, senior product manager, bi-optic scanners, NCR, expects a hybrid flatbed scanner to be developed, with both laser scanning and imaging capabilities that can scan both codes
Other applications of 2-D codes include drivers' licenses, insurance cards and ID cards.