The Future of Barcodes is DotCode

With the latest update of DotCode, a new and innovative 2D barcode system entered the market that allows barcodes to be applied at a speed of more than 1,000 codes per seconds. This potentially revolutionary technology, which already proved successful in the European tobacco industry, could be a real win for other industries as well.

In times were fraudulent products are more present than ever before, barcodes could potentially provide more safety. This why the latest version of DotCode was released in July 2019. DotCode is an innovative barcode system which is based on a dot symbology. Manufactures in the tobacco industry have already adopted and used this track-and-trace technology with great success. One of the major advantages of the new system is that the code can be applied at a speed of more than 1,000 codes per second. This offers potential to other markets such as the beverage, distribution and e-commerce industry.

An Innovative 2D Barcode

The public domain DotCode symbol is a 2D matrix barcode language, designed by Dr. Andy Longacre and was originally published by AIM. One of the most important characteristics of DotCode is the distinct dot pattern which enables high speed printing and other marking applications where common barcodes or connections between dots might be problematic.

The Revision 4.0 of DotCode has recently been ratified by AIM Inc., publisher of the most common barcodes and one of the most trusted global authorities when it comes to automatic identification and data capture technologies. Furthermore, DotCode was adopted by the global standards organization GS1 in their latest General Specifications update.

The 4.0 update defines expanded symbology-specific assessments for print quality to be conform with the SC31/WG1 international committee work and ISO/IEC 15415, the standard for 2D barcode print quality. The newest update also incorporates an encoding improvement based on an extensive testing of the original encoder algorithm, and experience in printing and reading DotCode in the European tobacco industry over several years.

High-Speed Barcode Printing

From the outset, DotCode was envisioned and engineered to be printable by high-speed technologies such as continuous inkjet and laser ablation. As bottling lines for high-volume consumer beverages can exceed 1,000 bottles per minute and cigarette manufacturing lines are benchmarked at 1,000+ packs per minute, such a technology has the potential for a revolution. A robust and economical machine-readable barcode data carrier, which encodes a unique, track-and-trace identifier at high speed could be a benefit for many industries. Furthermore, DotCode can help prevent frauds and counterfeits, thanks to its innovative dot system.

A Technology for New Markets

As DotCode is now established in the GS1 system, other application fields may be ready for the technology, too.

Scott Gray, solutions architect at GS1 Global Office, claims: “With the ratification of the revised DotCode specification by AIM and the forthcoming release of updated printing systems, readers and verifiers to support the new standard, GS1 is looking forward to conducting additional empirical testing to determine exactly where DotCode may offer an advantage over other GS1 symbologies.”

Another option would be “large dot” inkjet printing, for example, for serialized shipping container codes (SSCC) directly onto corrugated or other packaging.

DotCode isn’t only suitable for GS1 applications, but at least for now it’s optimized for them. The technology comes with numerous benefits for applications outside the GS1 system as well. If made available a public domain technology that’s increasingly used and supported by barcode label designers, barcode printer and scanner manufacturers and software developers, this technology offers a wide range of possibilities for many industries.

Which other industries, do you think, would benefit from using DotCode? Leave us a comment!