New generation bar codes adopted by 2010

By Gregory Roumeliotis

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Barcode

GS1, the global not-profit organisation, that designs and
implements barcode standards, has announced a global adoption date
of 1 January 2010 for a new bar code with Reduced Space Symbology
(RSS), which can store more data in half the amount of space and
offers a temporary alternative to radiofrequency identification
(RFID) technology.

RSS bar codes can identify small items and carry more information than the current European Article Number/Universal Product Code (EAN/UPC) bar code, such as serial numbers, lot numbers, and expiration dates for pharmaceuticals.

The new bar code is over 50 per cent smaller than the commonly used GS1 bar code seen on most products today.

The decision to switch over to RSS will be made by brand owners who may choose the smaller sized bar code to share more information about the product with trading partners, reclaim space on packaging for design purposes or provide more consumer communication, though it is likely that they will both co-exist for the foreseeable future.

The new level of information supports product authentication and traceability initiatives, product quality assurance, variable measure product identification, and the handling of coupons.

"The introduction of RSS and the advent of radiofrequency identification (RFID) and the Electronic Product Code (EPC) in the supply chain will enable increased collaboration between trading partners and better visibility of products in the supply chain,"​ said Andrew Osborne, chief technical officer of GS1 UK.

"RSS is a simple solution for trading partners looking for advanced information sharing who cannot justify the investment in RFID yet, as it provides a good migration path for those companies."

The adoption date of 2010 sets the goal for bar code systems to be capable of scanning RSS bar codes and processing the additional information.

Separate dates will be set for the use of the additional data for new application areas by global standards work groups.

RSS bar codes are already approved for global use on healthcare items that do not cross retail point-of-sale (POS).

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