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Bar codes


Date: 22/12/2014
Source: ISO Focus

The innovation that revolutionised retail sales celebrates its 40th anniversary in 2014. Although automated check-out had been proposed as far back as 1932 and a symbol reader was patented in 1949, it was only in 1974 that George Laurer invented the bar code as we know it today. That was the year that the American grocery industry’s leading trade associations established a standard numeric system for identifying products - the basis for the Universal Product Code (UPC).
The UPC got off to a slow start due to standards setting and high adoption costs but its use spread to many other tasks that are now generally referred to as automatic identification and data capture (AIDC).
As ever ISO has had a role to play in this revolution. For who verifies the bar code verifiers? ISO of course. Bar code verifiers must comply with ISO/IEC 15416:2000 on the print quality of linear bar codes and ISO/IEC 15426-2:2002 on conformance specifications for multi-row bar code symbols which ensure our bar codes are fit for purpose.