As the tablet market continues to grow, it is becoming increasingly common for end users to examine how they can incorporate tablets into their current data collection solutions. Solutions that utilize barcode scanning have been particularly active in adapting to the tablet trend. Although rugged tablets are the future of AIDC technology, due to the productivity that can be achieved with the larger form factor, we believe many considerations must be made when implementing a barcode scanning application within a tablet solution.
Barcode is the most common form of data collection. A barcode is a group of patterned bars and spaces that are designed to be scanned and read in order to obtain information about the object that the barcode is placed on. A variety of manufacturers offer tablets that have a barcode scanner directly integrated into the tablet. Due to the size and form factor of a tablet computer, it may be difficult to target the scan engine to scan a large number of barcode labels at a quick rate, which decreases the productivity or the tablet operator.
When an application is going to be scan-intensive and/or requires reading barcodes from a long distance, integrated scanning solutions may not be ideal. Luckily, traditional handheld scanners can have direct communication with a tablet computer via USB or Bluetooth.
USB scanning solutions refers to the process of utilizing a USB cord that attaches a barcode scanner to a tablet and allows for the scanned information to be transmitted to the tablet directly. Bluetooth scanning solutions allow the handheld barcode scanner and the tablet to communicate via Bluetooth. Many end users prefer this method for scan-intensive applications because it does not require an additional cord to be connected to the tablet. Also, with this type of solution, the end user can walk away from the tablet to scan an item and still be able to have real-time communication with the barcode scanner.
Many traditional barcode scanning vendors are creating new scanning products that are smaller in size and weight and easily pair with tablets running the Android, iOS, or Microsoft Windows operating systems. The fact that these newer scanning technologies are emerging on the market demonstrates the need to pair the two products together in scan-intensive applications.
To learn if your tablet/scanning workflow would require an external scanner, contact your AIDC systems integrator and walk through your workflow or ask for recommendations on what solutions setup would provide the most productivity.