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Forty years ago, a 10-pack of Wrigley’s gum was scanned and purchased at a Marsh Supermarket in Troy, Ohio, using what is now used 5 billion times every day: the Universal Product Code (UPC) barcode. In honor of this special occasion, Honeywell (NYSE: HON) is celebrating the anniversary and the role it has played in barcode and scanning innovation over the decades.

Honeywell-Granit-BarcodeFrom the invention of Code 39, the most widely used barcode, to the introduction of the Aztec 2D barcode that is used on airline and railway tickets, Honeywell has continued to collaborate with customers around the globe to deliver new scanning technologies that help transform fundamental business processes. Customers such as AstralPool, LoBue Citrus, Nature’s Best and the San Jose Police Department are just a few examples of companies that have successfully leveraged the barcode and Honeywell scanning technology to gain competitive advantage and increase operational performance.

“Forty years ago, I could have never imagined the impact that a barcode would have on consumers and businesses all over the world,” said Sprague Ackley, technologist, Honeywell Scanning & Mobility. “From providing a speedier check out at the grocery store to scanning at a hospital bedside, to enabling goods to be tracked throughout their lifetime or simply using my phone to board an airplane, I continue to be amazed at the power of the barcode technology.”

Honeywell Scanning & Mobility is proud to contribute a broad portfolio of retail-ready and ruggedized scanners in the supply chain space to capture, process and analyze data on barcodes around the globe.

For more than 40 years, the company has developed innovative solutions to meet the evolving demands of customers across industries, including retail, healthcare, field service and transportation & logistics. Honeywell’s contributions to the AIDC industry, include, but are not limited to, the following innovations:

• 1971: First on-demand barcode printer

• 1972: First contact-wand bar code reader patented

• 1974: Invented code-39, still the most widely used barcode in the world

• 1982: First handheld laser scanner with built-in decoder

• 1995: First handheld 2D imager and introduced the Aztec code barcode

• 1996: First omnidirectional handheld laser scanner

• 2007: First near-field/far-field imager

• 2013: First wearable solution to integrate voice and hands-free scanning

The barcode continues to play a critical role in improving efficiencies, increasing productivity and enhancing the overall customer experience across a variety of industries. For example, Honeywell’s deployment at Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Summit County, Colo., is one example of how the barcode and scanning technology have helped businesses transform operations.

“Intermec by Honeywell’s 2D scanning technology reads the barcodes on our ski rentals almost instantly – translating to faster service and shorter lines,” said Todd Palmer, IT systems administrator at Copper Mountain. “We are able to get visitors on the ski lifts more quickly and our employees can spend more time with guests to ensure an optimal customer experience.”

Honeywell has launched a microsite to celebrate this milestone and showcase the various ways the company has played a role in the evolution of the barcode and scanning technology. Help us celebrate the barcode’s 40th anniversary by tweeting us @HoneywellAIDC or by using the hashtag #40YearsofBarcode.


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