Barcode technology has been around for decades and is in use across a litany of industries. However, businesses in manufacturing and warehousing now see opportunity above and beyond the laser-scanning capabilities, they've relied upon for years. As such, it's possible that the way these sectors think of the technology will evolve rapidly in the next few years, and for early adopters, that process is already underway.

Effective barcode systems are vital for the modern manufacturing or logistics facility and can serve to streamline many aspects of a business even beyond simply taking inventory. As such, many companies are now turning their eyes to the ways in which new options have emerged to allow for the principles behind this technology to improve and make everything more efficient, according to a report from Logistics Management. The problem many people – regardless of the industries in which they work – sometimes encounter with laser-scanning barcode technology is that they can be somewhat unreliable and sometimes frustrating, and even taking a few additional seconds per scan can add up quickly over the course of a week, quarter, or year.

What comes next?
Instead, modern barcode systems use technology similar to smartphone cameras to instantly capture and process the codes being scanned, the report said. This is even true when it comes to barcodes that may have been damaged and would have otherwise been rendered unreadable to a laser-scanning system. And for codes that are too damaged to be read by even the new technology, these modern systems can flag the problems automatically so they can be addressed in a different manner, and in a timely fashion. And because many of these new systems don't have any sort of moving parts for workers to use, they are also less vulnerable to breaking down like older technology.

The market is growing
Today, more businesses of all types are now investing in barcode systems to ensure greater accuracy in their inventories, according to new data from Transparency Market Research. In fact, much of the expected growth in the market for barcoding over the next seven years or so will likely arrive specifically because of how much new technology aids in a variety of aspects related to the production process. From increased accuracy and reduced man-hours to tracking use and growing interest in e-commerce, more businesses are going to invest in barcode systems as time goes on, meaning those that don't are likely to fall behind their competitors, often regardless of the industries in which they operate.

Interestingly, the options for how companies will be able to scan barcodes and QR codes is only likely to continue expanding in the years ahead as well. For instance, Apple recently built QR and barcode scanning functionality into its mobile Safari web browser for iPhones, effectively eliminating the need for users to have separate apps installed to perform the same tasks, according to Tech Crunch. Right now, the app only allows users to scan a barcode and go to an associated web search page for the item in question.

With this basic functionality in place, other options could soon emerge in the near future that could be a more direct benefit to manufacturers and other businesses. Simply put, the growing use of barcodes across numerous industries will only facilitate greater efficiency for users, whether they're individuals or organizations.