Honeywell Verifier Retirement: What Does It Mean?

 In 101

On June 9, 2011 Honeywell Scanning and Mobility released PRN #11-06, announcing the retirement of their entire line of barcode verifiers. Previously they had retired a substantial portion of their verifier line—in particular most of the wand-based devices.

Honeywell verifier retirement comes as no surprize after several years of non-commitment to this industry

Several years earlier, Honeywell acquired its verifier business from Hand Held Products, and earlier than that, Hand Held acquired that verifier business from PSC, formerly known as Photographic Sciences Corporation.

Over the many years these companies have been producing barcode verifiers, it’s fair to say that they dominated the industry. Honeywell was clearly a force to be reckoned with, although their commitment and market share was increasingly challenged in recent years.

One factor in their decision has to be the relatively small sales potential for verification devices, which is miniscule in comparison to scanners. Another factor is the relatively great cost of development and compliance to ISO and ANSI performance standards. An additional factor has been increasing pressure for ROHS compliance which would add development cost to existing manufacturing and further erode an already relatively small profit even smaller.

It has been evident to many in the industry that Honeywell’s commitment to verification was uncertain. Honeywell’s verifiers never matured beyond linear barcodes such as UPC, while the rest of the world has been rapidly adopting newer, more fault-tolerant and higher data capacity 2D symbologies such as Datamatrix. And now the domestic marketing and advertising world is pushing into QR Code, which exploded in European and Asian markets years ago. In other words, where the industry has been going is no surprise. Honeywell just doesn’t want to go along.

Honeywell verifier retirement doesn’t affect new 2D technologies–because Honeywell never entered that space

Interestingly, Honeywell hasn’t apparently offered to sell the verifier business, which is how they acquired it originally. Right now it appears that they have decided to kill it.

If the announcement of the sale of the Quick Check brand is still forthcoming, the successor will somehow have to swallow a poison pill: PRN #11-06 recommends Axicon verifiers as the best replacement for the retired Honeywell products.

Honeywell verifier retirement notice recommends Axicon as the best replacement

The Honeywell verifier retirement wouldn’t be a “poison pill” if Axicon is pursuing an acquisition of the Quick Check line—but that seems unlikely. Unlike Honeywell, Axicon is deeply committed to verification and has steadily increased its scope of products and upgraded into 2D technology. Long before the emergence of 2D, Axicon long ago upgraded its linear verifiers and abandoned the crutchy wand-based verifiers that Honeywell doggedly hung on to until very recently. Furthermore, Axicon has done a far better job of listening to its customers and developing functionality and utility to its verifiers that responds to customer needs.

Farewell, Honeywell. We would miss you more if the friendship hadn’t so badly faded.

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