Barcode scanners have long been an effective way to inventory items, sell products, and to keep a digital record of the movement of objects as they travel from the warehouse to their final destination, in the homes of buyers. We now live in a world that is more diverse, more varied, and full of different technologies. This has paved the way to diversify further technology, such as cell phone barcode scanners becoming more accessible. Though these technologies may seem handy and useful, what can they really do for your business?
What are Smartphone Scanners
A smartphone scanner is a program that can be downloaded onto a mobile phone that allows the user to scan barcodes with the camera of the phone, rather than having to rely on or use a traditional barcode handheld scanner. This will enable users to scan barcodes virtually everywhere they go with a device they always have on-hand, which can seem very convenient in specific scenarios. A traditional barcode scanner only has one purpose, it can only be used to scan barcodes, while smartphone scanners can be used in a wide variety of ways and the phone itself can be used in more than one way. Given that smartphone scanners seem like they might be a better choice, it’s important to note that some drawbacks may hurt a business more than they may help. To see which type of scanner would be suitable for your business, we’ve outlined some of the benefits and considerations of smartphone scanners.
Benefits of Smartphone Barcode Scanners
The first benefit is that most people own a smartphone, so adding a barcode scanner app to a phone is going to save you from having to buy additional equipment, assuming that your smartphone is equipped with a camera that can handle it. This could be a good solution for smaller companies that may not need to buy bar code scanners or that are not able to obtain scanning apps. This means that smaller companies are going to be able to utilize barcode technology at a relatively low price.
Another benefit is that a smartphone scanner is going to allow you to scan codes on the go without having to lug around a heavy scanner or having to take a computer with you. This means that you can scan on the go and can get your products’ inventories without having to find and carry a scanner at all times. It is highly portable and easy to use as well.
The last benefit we will discuss is that smartphone scanners are using technology that programs information right into your phone. This means that you may be able to add, remove items, and add data more easily and quickly. This means that your information will be portable as well so you can use it anywhere.
Drawbacks of Smartphone Scanners
There are some drawbacks to this type of technology as well. When using a smartphone app to scan barcodes, there is always the risk that the information you are scanning is going to be compromised or that it may be used and taken when it is transferred. Since most apps connect to the internet to function, with a low budget app the information may be left unsecured, meaning anyone could access it or even alter it. Security for smartphone barcode scanners poses more of a risk compared to handheld scanners. Furthermore, smartphone scanners apps may end up causing security issues, which may also lead to leak data, inventory loss and more.
Another drawback is that smartphone scanners may not be as accurate as other scanning devices. Since smartphones are not explicitly created to scan barcodes, there may be a higher rate of error compared to using a device that only scans barcodes. Also, smartphones are a bit more complicated than a standard price code scanner. These phones are also prone to more delays for loading app data and may end up causing more trouble than they are worth, which means that they may cause more issues than a standard barcode scanner would.
The last issue we are going to discuss is the fact that smartphone scanners are a bit harder to learn and to use for larger companies. If you have inventory that is not in the thousands or if you are taking in orders that are very large in number, a smartphone might not be your tool of choice. However, relying on various phones of varying qualities could mean that your phone will freeze or the battery will die in the middle of a big job. For smaller businesses, using a smartphone scanner may be a great way to start out using barcode technology without investing a great deal of money. For larger companies, a smartphone scanner may be considered impractical and can waste the time of employees.
How to Choose What is Right For You
If you have a more significant business or need a rugged solution, a smartphone scanner may not be right for you (although there are now rugged smartphone scanners available). For those that are looking for a place to start, you can begin to outline the needs of your business. For example, a few questions to take into consideration include:
- The number of barcode scanners required
- Importance of your information’s security
- The amount of inventory needed to scan
- How frequently scanners will be required on-the-go
- Determine if printers are required
- The quality of the smartphone manufacturer and the app reliability
If you are working with a barcode printer and want a very precise reading, your best option might be to use a laser barcode scanner, which is solely meant to work with barcodes. If you have a smaller company and are willing to compromise and to work a bit harder, a smartphone scanner may be all you need. Keep in mind that traditional scanners are currently the most reliable options, however, exploring other options such as smartphone scanners may suit your businesses’ needs instead.
Not sure what to pick for your company? Contact our experts at Jet Marking Systems today.