Types of Barcode Scanners – How to Choose the Best One?

barcode scanner

Barcodes are basically data codes having important information and data related to any product. Various letters and numbers are encoded with spaces and bars of different widths and lengths. For accuracy in inventory management, these codes are very vital. In this guide, we will cover different barcode scanning technologies and help you make an informed decision.  

Barcode has some white and black spaces with a product number of 12 digits, which is then scanned and decoded by the computer. After decoding the information, the cashier bills the product at the counter.  

 

Types of Barcode Scanners 

On the basis of technology used, there are basically 4 types of barcode scanners –  

Pen Method 

These are usually barcode wands which have photodiode at the tip and LED light. When you slide this pen-like scanner on the barcode, the white and black bars are illuminated with LED light. As per their thickness, the reflected lights vary from these bars. The photodiode captures the light and converts the same into digital data.  You need to pass the scanner on the barcode at a specific speed. The scanner should also be in touch with the barcode. Accuracy of data is also affected by any kind of human disturbance.  

Laser barcode scanners 

These types of barcode scanners are very popular and are used widely in the retail industry. They are more accurate as compared to pen methods. Actual unit of laser beam is released on the mirror which moves the way that laser passes through the barcode in a single line. The reflected light is captured by a photodiode and then turned into data. It is either mounted or hand-held scanner.  

Charge Coupled Device or CCD scanners 

These types of scanners are a bit on the expensive side but they come up with accurate outcomes. They are also known as LED scanners because of having hundreds of little LED lights in a row. The lights are shot at the barcode and the scanner measures the voltage of ambient light. Later on, it is turned into digital data. These types of scanners are widely used with POS systems. But they should be held in 1 to 3 inches off the barcode. In addition, the barcode should also be smaller than its face.  

Camera-based or Imager barcode scanners 

These are more like video cameras as they have video cameras and they take pictures of barcodes instead of shooting laser light on the code. Despite the position of the scanner, they can easily read the barcode and improve the speed of scanning significantly. 

 

Choosing the Right Barcode Scanner

When looking for the best barcode scanner for your business, consider these questions – 

  • Do you want to use it in stores or warehouses? 
  • What should be the range of scanning? 
  • How often would you need to scan? 
  • Do you have a budget limit when buying a scanner?
  • What will be the connectivity options?  

These days, imagers are even more affordable than other types of barcode scanners. They can work with both 2D and 1D barcodes. But it is also up to other factors and your choice. 

Difference between Cloud POS vs. On Premise POS Systems

pos system

A POS system is a centralized location where customers have to make payments for products they have bought at your retail premises, food items they ordered in your restaurant, and services they enjoyed at your hospitality business. Simply speaking, POS is a central hub where customer management, inventory and sales in your business can integrate smoothly and transactions can be processed.

As new business models and sales technologies keep on developing, businesses have been moving towards cloud based POS. Around 61% merchants are ready to switch to cloud-based POS, according to a report on Software Trends.

What is Cloud-based POS?
When it comes to cloud-based technology or device, we mean data is actually stored somewhere on the server of someone else, and it is accessed through the web. The benefit is that you can easily log in and access the information from almost anywhere with internet connection.

Of course, it is a convenient way as there is no risk of data loss due to hardware failure. But there are security risks. So, you need to look at data ownership. The hosting provider may own your data and has the rights to sell the data to third parties.

Reliability is another major issue with cloud-based technology. Several devices rely on each other for communication. So, complications are very common. You may also need to store orders and process through the server outside your location. It may lead to transmission and speed issues.

On Premise POS
It goes without saying that the popularity of on-premise POS has been down due to advancement in technology. But it is still a reliable solution for hospitality business. On-premise POS system has been proved reliable for smooth ordering in restaurants along with enhanced marketing, optimized workforce, and managed inventory.

Your sales data is usually stored in your own server and there is internal network to operate on-premise POS systems. On these tools, the data can be accessed only with alternative application or local server. There are still some drawbacks in this model. Despite them, there are some benefits of traditional POS system for bars and restaurants –

Complete Control
You can buy on-premise POS on perpetual and non-exclusive license. You can easily customize and maintain processes as per your business model. It offers great optimization of resources, improves efficiency, and even reduces unwanted wastage.

No Downtime
On-premise POS significantly reduces the risk of server downtime which may cause loss of customers and revenue. Unlike cloud-based systems, on-premise programs don’t need internet connection and businesses can keep up with their operations.

Great functionalities
There are different features of on-premise POS systems like data storage and accounting along with complete security and inventory management. It is also user-friendly and is coupled with touch-screen features. So, it is a great option for coffee shops and fast-food restaurants.

Bottom Line
It is very vital to choose the right POS technology as well as right vendor to avoid any disruption. You also need to consider your needs when choosing a POS system. You can go for server-based system if you need more than 2 terminals and have over 50 seats. These systems have cloud features to keep track on operations and improve efficiency.

Common Myths about Cloud POS for Restaurants Busted

restaurant pos

Over 73% companies have moved their application or a part of their infrastructure have been backed up to the cloud, as per the Cloud Computing Survey. There are still a lot of myths related to restaurant POS systems and cloud computing. Due to these myths, some restaurateurs avoid switching to cloud POS solutions and refrain from using the most innovative and solid POS solutions that can make their operations smoother.  

Many restaurant owners don’t trust cloud POS systems and their credibility, despite having a lot of benefits of cloud POS and avoid leaving their traditional POS system. With that said, let’s discuss some of the common myths of cloud POS for restaurants –

1. Switching from Old-School POS to Cloud-based system is time consuming and not that easy 

Many restaurateurs feel that it takes a lot of time to take the whole data to cloud from local servers and they might lose vital business data. On the other side, it takes several days to implement traditional POS. In fact, you can easily set up the whole cloud POS solution within a day. You just need at least 2 hours to integrate all your restaurant menus with cloud software. Many restaurant owners are worried about losing data during migration. But a robust cloud POS can retail all your old data by keeping it online. It is known to have a user-friendly interface and detailed architecture. So, it doesn’t need any special training. 

2. Cloud POS is expensive 

In fact, cloud POS is significantly more affordable than traditional POS. Old-school legacy POS systems need expensive servers and bulky hardware which need a lot of maintenance. On the flip side, cloud based POS can save upfront cost as it doesn’t need expensive servers. It just costs a subscription fee upfront, varies as per your specific needs. There are no expenses or hidden charges in re-installing the cloud system as it stores everything online. 

3. There is no Assurance of Complete Security 

It is another common concern of restaurant owners that their daily operations are at risk of security threat. Security of data on SaaS application is another common concern. They prefer physical servers for data storage. But cloud POS is very much secure as it backups the data with several security features and provides responsive and reliable access to the restaurants. You can have responsive and easy access to the data. On both backend and front end, database information is encrypted by these systems and there is no data breach here. 

4. Software Updates make the system lagging 

Cloud software provides smooth services flow with larger bandwidth without any issues related to lagging during the operations. Cloud POS updates smoothly with new software versions or features. Only the central system must be updated and it reflects in all other devices automatically.