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Rugged tablets have been widely adopted across many industries due to their ability to withstand drops, shocks, extreme temperatures, water damage, dust, and other potential hazards. They also have powerful processors and long battery life making them ideal for complex industrial applications.

As rugged technology continues to thrive, one notable feature that has been incorporated into the rugged devices is the barcode scanner. Given that barcode technology is now being applied in transport, logistics, healthcare, retail, and warehousing, an in-built barcode scanner is a timely invention. Barcodes have made it possible to collect data faster, better manage inventory, reduce human errors, and improve asset tracking.

Let’s discuss some of the things that are worthwhile to know in regards to rugged tablet barcode scanning.


Basics of Barcode Scanning

Whether you are using a stand-alone scanner or a scanner integrated within a rugged tablet, the principle of barcoding is the same. A barcode is a series of black and white lines found on products’ packaging. A barcode is read by a barcode scanner. When the barcode is scanned, the information contained in the barcode is decoded and transmitted to a computer system that contains the products’ database.

Below the barcode, there is a series of numbers that can be manually inputted into the computer system if the scanner is not working properly or if the barcode is damaged. The barcode scanner is therefore a faster way of capturing product information into a computer system.

Barcode Scanning Options When Using A Rugged Tablet

The rugged tablets do not restrict the users to the in-built scanner only. Rugged tablets have interface ports where external devices can be connected and are also Bluetooth enabled. Some of the scanning options available when using rugged tablets are discussed below.

  1. In-built Scanner

One of the advantages of using a rugged tablet with an inbuilt barcode scanner is that the need to have multiple devices is eliminated. This makes it easier to move around especially in a setting where the items or the products being scanned are located in different locations. The scanning experience can be made more comfortable and faster by attaching a scan handle to the rugged tablet.

  1. Bluetooth Barcode Scanner

Bluetooth barcode scanners are connected to the rugged tablets using Bluetooth technology; therefore, they are wireless. The Bluetooth scanner is powered by a separate battery which means that the battery of the rugged tablets will not be drained as fast during scanning. The scanners are not as expensive and can be upgraded whenever there is a need without denting the company finances. Sometimes, Bluetooth barcode scanners may fail to connect to the tablet due to connectivity issues. In this case, you can easily switch back to an inbuilt scanner.

  1. Corded Scanners

Corded scanners are connected to the rugged tablet using cables. Rugged tablets have enough USB ports which can be used to connect the scanners. With these scanners, you don’t have to worry about batteries or connection issues provided the cable and the interface port are in good condition. These scanners are best suited for Point of Sale (POS) or stations where the tablets are not being moved around too often.

  1. Camera Barcode Scanners

A smart device such as a tablet or a phone can read a barcode provided, they have a camera and a barcode scanning application. Camera-based barcode readers are not designed for scanning therefore they can be very unreliable. They tend to be slow and will hardly scan a barcode that is slightly defaced. If your work involved a lot of scanning, you might want to consider other scanning options instead of a camera-based barcode scanner.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Rugged Tablet for Barcode Scanning

  1. Type of Barcode

There are two types of barcodes, one-dimensional(1D) barcodes and two-dimensional(2D) barcodes. Compared to 2D barcodes, 1D barcodes are limited in terms of the characters they can hold. Before getting a tablet for scanning purposes, ensure that you are aware of the type of barcodes you will be scanning. This is because some rugged tablets can only be able to scan 1D barcodes. If your business uses the two types of barcodes, you may want to purchase a tablet that has 1D and 2D scanning capabilities.

  1. Software

To make your barcoding tasks efficient and seamless, you need stable software that integrates well with the rugged tablet and with your core business software.

  1. Scanning Environment

This refers to the environment in which your scanning tasks will be primarily conducted. If you work in poorly lit rooms you may consider fixing the lighting or getting a rugged tablet with a powerful barcode. A powerful barcode will also be useful in reading wet, defaced, and damaged barcodes.

Benefits of Rugged Tablet PC Barcode Scanning

There are many benefits of using rugged tablets for barcode scanning. Let’s have a look at some of them.

  1. Saving Time and Reduces Errors

Using a rugged tablet with an inbuilt scanner for enterprise operations saves time. Manually recording inventory or other assets as they get in and out of the premises takes time and is prone to errors. With the rugged tablet, the inventory can be quickly scanned and the database updated in real-time. This frees up staff time that would otherwise be used to manually record, reconcile inventory records, or correct human errors.

  1. Convenience

A rugged tablet with an inbuilt scanner offers convenience because you can perform your scanning tasks without the need to connect or carry additional devices. The tablet can handle complex industrial applications and act as a barcode scanner at the same time.

  1. Enhanced Customer Experience

The tablets can contribute to a positive customer experience. In the retail sector, you can use the tablets to check the customers out faster therefore reducing the checkout lines. It is also a way to record your inventory faster and better manage your inventory levels. The customers will therefore have instant information on whether a particular product is available or not other than having to wait for a staff to physically check in the store.

In conclusion, a rugged tablet with an inbuilt barcode scanner offers more functionalities to businesses without necessarily having to add other devices. Barcodes have become essential components in enterprise processes. Getting yourself a device that can support many business tasks will save you money in the long run and make your work easier.