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Barcode turns 50 but its days might be numbered

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

The patch of irregular vertical lines that revolutionized checking out at the supermarket and facilitated the globalization of retail is turning 50.

But as the barcode celebrates its birthday on Monday, its days might be numbered as it faces competition from the younger QR code, the information-filled squares used in smartphones.

The trademark beep as a product is scanned is heard about six billion times per day across the world as around 70,000 items are sold each second.

It has become so integrated in the shopping experience that it is easy to forget how much the technology revolutionized retail by speeding up the checkout process and giving retailers the ability to trace products and better manage inventory.


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