The Perfect Universal Verifier
The Perfect Universal Verifier
First let’s define terms: a “universal” verifier is one that tests both 1D or linear barcodes and 2D or matrix symbols. UPC, Code 128 and ITF14 are examples of 1D barcodes; QR Code and Data Matrix Code are examples of 2D symbols. Having been in the barcode business—and the barcode quality business in particular—for 30+ years, of course I have some beliefs and opinions about what the perfect “universal” verifier might be.
Universal verifiers have been on the market for a while, most notably from Label Vision Systems, Webscan and Axicon. But this is not a discussion of which brand or model is best—this is an exploration of what the best possible universal verifier would be if it existed. Here are some key considerations:
- Is the perfect universal verifier tethered to a computer (laptop, notebook or tablet) or self-contained with its own micro-processor, keypad and display?
- Would it be completely portable or connected to a power source?
- Is it important to be able to capture a printed report or a report file for later printing or saving?
- What is the ideal Field of View?
Certainly there are technical and cost considerations that will inevitably limit what is possible to achieve in a universal verifier. Verifiers—even those that only test and grade 1D barcodes—are expensive and have functional limitations that can be frustrating to users. There are functional, ergonomic, technical and cost decisions that must be made to get any technical device such as a verifier to market. Because of the broad spectrum of industries and situations where verifiers are used, it is possible that there is no “perfect universal verifier”. The effort to define it based on key considerations such as those above only leads to more questions:
- What is the value of a portable verifier when barcode production is done at a stationary location?
- Is “universality” really an important capability of a verifier or would two separate devices at a relatively lower unit cost and relatively lighter weight be a more attractive solution?
- How important is ISO compliance to the user in the verifier buying decision.
That last question is somewhat controversial. We have advocated for the importance of ISO compliance consistently from the beginning, and we remain staunch supporters of it. But we occasionally hear strong opinions expressed from detractors who claim that ISO compliance is, at one extreme, a meaningless feature and, at the other extreme, a needless additional cost. There are competitive brands who sell “verifiers” that are not ISO compliant. The quotes signal a loose use of the term “verifier” since a non- compliant test device is really not a test device in our opinion.
Now it is your turn to speak: define the perfect universal verifier, or ask pertinent questions that will help define a set of categories of verifier usages and situations where a particular configuration or form factor is the “perfect verifier”.
Feel free to comment—and thank you in advance for your interest, your knowledge and experience.