We regularly receive queries from clients confused on whether to use a Barcode or QRCode for asset labels, their trade-offs and best-practices. This blog post will help answer some of the common issues. For information on how to set up a barcode scanner, click here.
We’ll start by an introduction to what the two are and their respective virtues.
- Widely used for a long time
- Contains an alpha-numeric sequence
- Most assets come with manufacturer issued barcodes
- A modern successor becoming popular very quickly
- Greater data storage capacity and support for multiple data types.
- Fast and reliable scanning for camera based devices eg, smartphones and tablets.
EZOffice recommends using QRCodes and through our Label Designer we provide the functionality to generate and print QRCode based labels. These QRCodes contain a secure url, allowing any mobile scanning app to scan and use the secure url to take you to the Asset’s detail page.
Though we support barcodes, both pre-existing and those generated by our Label Designer, we believe QRCodes offer a richer and more flexible solution. To setup your system with Barcodes instead of QRcodes, you need to enter the Barcode’s sequence into the Asset’s “Asset Identification Number” (AIN) field. A slight drawback of using barcodes is that asset lookup (via scanning) will only work when done using EZOffice’s mobile apps. For QRCodes, you can download any QRCode scanning software for your mobile platform and it’ll integrate perfectly with our cloud based offering. The difference in usability is because, unlike a QRCode, which contains a complete url to the asset, a barcode is just a alpha-numeric sequence and hence cannot be used to do a lookup by a third party mobile app.
Using Barcodes & QRCodes: Best practices and recommendations*
- Barcode of at least 1.5 inch x 0.5 inch size should work but make sure it works well with the smartphones you plan on using as its readability is dependent more on the capability of a device than of the app. As a guideline, the taller (height) the barcode the easier it is to read, followed by its length.
- QRCode minimum size 1×1 inch.
- Get high print quality (more DPI the better). Most laser printers qualify.
- Color – black on white recommended.
- Use weather proof materials for assets used outdoors or in tough conditions. You’ll need to go commercial here and we can assist with vendor coordination for printing formats.
- When using QRCodes, we recommend that you put your choice of asset id (Asset# or AIN) on the label. Just like Barcodes have the respective sequence printed under them, and can be used in case the Barcode is not scannable (happens all the time at my neighborhood Walmart!).
Here’s a list of recommended hardware integrations you can use for Barcode and QR code scanning of item labels.
* The section enlists the practices and recommendations which work for most of our customers and if there is an issue pertaining to a specific situation or something we can help you with on QR Code asset tracking tool, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.