Notably, there are two types of barcode scanners: 1D laser scanners and 2D imaging scanners. Laser scanners are likely the most familiar type to consumers. When you picture a barcode scanning scenario, you probably think of a laser scanner. Almost every retailer or ‘big-box’ store has used laser scanners at checkouts for decades.
Laser scanners started being replaced by 2D imagers several years ago, and the pace is quickening. Why? Because laser scanners can only scan 1D (“linear”) barcodes on whereas 2D imagers can scan both 1D and 2D barcodes.
With 2D barcodes, issuers could include a lot of data in the barcode, thus making barcode scanning attractive for a host of new applications. Importantly, those 2D barcodes were used as mobile barcodes for tickets, IDs, coupons, etc. and presented to a scanner from a consumer’s smartphone. A laser scanner cannot scan mobile barcodes. However, imaging scanners can.
Also, with the rise of smartphones, the market was suddenly saturated with built-in cameras able to be configured as 2D imaging scanners. The app stores now have many entry-level barcode and QR code scanning apps to choose from that are 2D imaging scanners. At the enterprise level, apps like CodeREADr have invested heavily into both 1D and 2D technology and thus have scan engines with very fast, very accurate scanning capabilities.