If cost is the determining factor, then laser barcode scanners win hands down over camera technology, Stiles says. The equipment costs up front are cheaper, and the total cost of ownership is less with lasers.
They also are easier to install and maintain, he says. But cameras are higher-performing instruments that can offer features that lasers can't, including omni-directional scanning. That's important when you have little or no control over the barcode orientation.
Often the determining criterion is the quality of the barcode. If it's printed properly, lasers may be all you need, Stiles says. "But if they are poorly printed or from a supplier who has no control over the quality of the barcodes, cameras are the right technology."
Camera vendors often claim 100-percent accuracy and maintain that laser can't match that. That may usually be the case, but Stiles mentions an instance when a camera couldn't properly read a barcode that was printed over a picture. The underlying art confused the camera, but a laser had no trouble discerning the code from the graphic.
Often a given industry or business finds it really needs only one kind of technology. Stiles says airline baggage handling is a prime example where cameras are of no use.
Cameras seem to be of some value when side-by-side placement of items occurs on conveyors. It's an error condition that may result in one customer being shorted and another receiving twice as much as ordered. Camera technology can spot the problem and report back to the operator.
Local or remote connectivity, tethered to smartphones or tablets, has greatly enhanced the use of laser barcode scanning, Stiles says.
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Keywords: RFID, Wireless, Bar Code & Voice, Technology, Warehouse Logistics, Logistics, Omni-Directional Scanning, Scanning With Smartphones, Mobile Laser Barcode Technology