A Little Help From Our Friends
As John Lennon and Paul McCartney remind us, friends support us when we need it most. Our friends are the ones we count on for advice and the ones we trust in tough situations; we know what they’re capable of, and depend on their commitment to watch our back. They help us succeed.
When on a call, we all know who we’d like by our side: a friend and a partner (maybe even a few of them)!
Why, then – when faced with difficult problems in your department or division – do you call a vendor?
What’s the difference: Vendor vs Partner.
Traditional vendors are the type that will sell and sell, but seldom deliver what you need. What’s worse, these vendors will often push technology or strategies that don’t fit your unique situation, resources, etc. They apply “cookie cutter” approaches and instill little trust in their products or solutions.
Not all vendors fall into this category, thankfully. The vendors and third-party providers who belong in the “partner” category fit nicely into the description of a “friend” as provided above. You can count on them. They help you succeed. And they probably do the following:
Walk the talk: collaboration comes first.
You should immediately be suspicious of a vendor who promises the moon and the stars – you should be even more suspicious if they tell you that they’ll “handle everything.” As you know, it takes a diverse group of individuals and groups to successfully navigate the public safety environment – you rely heavily on personnel in all levels of your organization to build successful programs, create cutting edge technology solutions, foster relationships with other agencies, etc. Any vendor that doesn’t understand that collaborative approach probably isn’t partner material.
Ask questions first.
While selling may be a necessary part of the process, no one appreciates being sold to – especially when a vendor barely understands your agency (or worse, the industry as a whole). True partnerships cannot be built when you dread accepting a phone call from your “partner” because you know you’re about to be pushed into a sales conversation; valuable partners seek first to understand, then to develop solutions.
Tell you what you need to hear, not necessarily what you want to hear.
From technology to department culture, sometimes our friends need to tell us how it is (see also: that tattoo you got, that girl/guy you once dated, and other “you probably shouldn’t have done that” moments). Your third-party partner should be comfortable having real conversations with your department leadership about both successes and pitfalls; honesty and accountability should be central to their operations.
Focus on people, not just numbers.
You understand and appreciate your organization at its very core – most of all, its people. This level of understanding should also be found with your partners in the vendor community and should be evident in planning meetings, solutions and strategies developed, and the consultations they provide. Pay attention to how they treat their people – this will give you a glimpse into their integrity, their priorities and the importance they place on personnel.
The difference is pretty simple: when a vendor steps back (or falls down), your partner steps up.
You don’t have to be a part of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to get by with a little help from your friends, nor do you need to be a Beatle to build strong partnerships.
So next time you need someone in your corner or you’re looking for a solution, don’t talk to a vendor – seek out a partner that possesses the qualities of a friend.
“The lowest bid may be enticing, but be sure to know what
you’re getting – and what you’re not!”
– RAD DeRose, President and CEO
© 2016 L-Tron Corporation
About L-Tron Corporation
We listen and respond to technology challenges in the Law Enforcement community. Striving to share our deep knowledge-base and resources for over 35 years, our goal is to provide the expert support and solutions you need to drive success.
Partnering with leading manufacturers like Honeywell, we provide barcode driver’s license readers, mobile printers, mounting equipment, and more to deliver data collection solutions – including eCitation, firearms tracking, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, and printing solutions.
The L-Tron Difference [Infographic]
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Want to Learn More about Mobile Point of Sale (POS)?
As consumers become more knowledgeable and empowered with mobile devices, the retail industry is becoming more centered around the customer’s experience. As a result, it’s time you empowered your employees with the latest technology too.
If you’re looking to provide your customers the experience they’re looking for, then Mobile POS is something to consider!
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As each package is just as important as the next, it’s crucial for a company or college campus’s mail room to know where packages are from start to finish. But how can a mail room improve their current processes? Simple – with a Package Tracking Solution.
This One Pager will:
- Describe a typical Package Tracking Solution process
- Discuss the key benefits of a Package Tracking Solution
- Lay out common package tracking headaches that can be fixed with a Package Tracking Solution
Download this One Pager to learn how a Package Tracking Solution can strengthen your mail services’ operations.
The Importance of an Excellent Customer Experience
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Active RFID – A tracking system that uses RFID tags that are self-powered and broadcast their own signal.
AES Encryption – The Advanced Encryption Standard is an algorithm to protect hardware and software security. AES 256 is comprised of 256-bit keys for encryption, AES 192 has 192-bit keys, and AES 128 has 128-bits. More bits=more security.
AIDC – Automatic Identification and Data Capture
Alphanumeric – Written symbols that include letters, numbers, punctuation marks or control characters.
Ambient Light – Light that already exists in your scene. The light is not caused by any illumination supplied by the photographer.
Analog – Describes data containing a continuous value between set limits represented by a range/span of voltage, current or resistance, such as 4-20 mA DC or 0 to 5 V DC. The value is non-integer with a specified number of digits limited by measurement. Some examples of an Analog signal are pressure, temperature and flow rate.
ANSI (American National Standards Institute) – A non-governmental organization whose responsibility is creating the voluntary industry standards
Antenna – In a radio frequency identification system, the antenna is the agent that emits and/or takes in the RF energy.
Aperture – The opening in your camera lens that lets in light.
App – A self-contained program or piece of software created to fulfill a particular purpose, which is downloaded to a mobile device.
Archivability – In law enforcement, refers to the period of time in which a printed copy of an eCitation will retain its image and be readable.
Area of Interest – The central photograph. The one area a viewer’s eyes are attracted to in an image.
ASCII – The written symbols and codes described in American National Standard Code for Information Interchange, ANSI X3.4-1977. Each ASCII symbol contains 7-bits (8 bits including parity check). The ASCII written symbols and codes used for information exchange between data processing and communication systems, as well as associated equipment. The ASCII set includes both control and printing characters.
Aspect Ratio – In a barcode symbol, the bar height to symbol length percentage. In photography, the ratio of width to height. Example- the ratio of 2:3 in 35 mm pictures produces photographs that typically fit 3.5×5 or 4×6 inches.
Asset Tracking – Using RFID tags or another form of tracking technology to track the location of physical assets as they move from one location to another.
Augmented Reality – Combines reality with computer-generated enhancements, to improve the user experience by making the “reality” more meaningful (such as a 3D view of a structure on a computer screen vs. a 2D view).
Autodiscrimination – The ability for a barcode reader to identify and correctly interpret multiple symbols.
Backcoating – Commonly found on a thermal transfer ribbon to avoid the ribbon from attaching to the print head and label material. It also shields the print head from heat, static, and friction.
Background – The gaps, quiet areas, and sections surrounding an impressed symbol
Backplane – An electrical board that provides connections between a computer’s circuit boards.
Bar – The darkened component of a printed barcode character
Barcode – An automatic identification technology that encodes information into an array of varying width parallel bars and spaces (one-dimensional codes); or digitally, with information encoded both horizontally and vertically (two-dimensional). The difference between a 1D code and 2D code is the amount of information that can be stored in the code. 2D codes can store much more information per square unit.
Barcode Character – An individual group of bars and spaces that produce single characters or symbols.
Barcode Density – A measure of the number of characters represented per lineal inch and is conveyed in characters per inch (CPI).
Barcode Generator – A program that creates a printable, scannable barcode by allowing users to select symbology type, barcode data, barcode size, and image format.
Barcode Label – A barcode symbol that is attached to an object, such as a carton, a product, shelf rack, etc.
Barcode Reader – Synonymous with “barcode scanner,” a tool used to interpret barcode characters.
Barcode Scanner – Synonymous with “barcode reader,” a tool used to interpret barcode characters.
Barcode Symbol – See “Symbol”
Barcode Verifier – Measures the bars and spaces of a barcode symbol, along with a barcode symbol’s quiet zones and optical characteristics, for compliance purposes that are set forth by a given industry or business partner.
Bar Height – See “Bar Length“
Bar Length – The height of the bar, which is perpendicular to the bar’s width.
Bar Width – The thickness of a bar measured from the starting edge of one character to the end of the same character.
Bar Width Reduction – The reduction of the nominal bar width dimensions on substrates to help mitigate systematic miscalculations in some printing methods
Battery Eliminator – A power source that does not require a battery. It converts electrical voltage to a suitable voltage for a given device.
Baud rate – The rate of information transfer in a communication channel, such as a serial port.
Bezel – The trim that frames a computer monitor found in a typical desktop computer environment.
Bi-Directional – The ability to read a barcode symbol regardless of the direction it is being scanned.
Big Data – Extremely large amounts of data that cannot be processed or analyzed by traditional means.
Biotechnology – The creation of technology based on biological and cellular processes to improve biological systems, such as human lives.
Bit – A single numerical component represented in a binary number
Bluetooth – A wireless technology standard that transfers information through short-wavelength microwave transmissions from handheld devices.
BYOD – Stands for “Bring Your Own Device”. Where employees bring their own electronics (phones, laptops, etc) to use for work. Often seen in the mobile workforce.
Camera Angles – Various positions of the camera in respect to the subject. Each angle provides a different viewpoint, or perspective.
Capture – The process of obtaining data such as an image, video or audio.
Capture Kit – The part of the OSCR360 equipment that allows you to take 360-degree images and includes the OSCR tablet, tripod, camera, and additional OSCR accessories.
C2C Communication – The customer-to-customer business model enables product and service transactions between customers.
C-Level – In business, the “C-Level” or “C-Suite” refers to the executive levels within a corporation. “C” stands for “Chief” as in CEO (Chief Executive Officer), COO (Chief Operations Officer), and CIO (Chief Information Officer or Chief Investment Officer).
C-Suite – See “C-Level”
Capture Window – The amplification of the operating portion of the radio frequency antenna pattern in an automatic identification system.
Caseworker – An employee of Child Protective Services who is responsible for overseeing the safety and well-being of children on their caseload.
Character – 1) An individual group of bars and spaces which represent a single symbol; 2) A figure that represents a specific symbol; 3) A type of symbol that is used as part of the arrangement or portrayal of data.
Character Density – Within a linear barcode symbol, the number of data characters per unit length (typically per inch). For a discrete symbology, the character width must include the inter-character gap.
Character Set – The available set of symbols that can be used for a specific barcode. For example, the character set for Code 39 is ‘0’ to ‘9’, ‘A’ to ‘Z’, SPACE, ‘$’, ‘/’, ‘+’, ‘-‘, ‘.’, ‘%’.
Chassis – The physical framework of a computing device.
Check Digit – The last digit of a message that ensures the barcode is correctly assembled.
ChildFirst Mobile Software Solution – A mobile solution designed to allow CPS caseworkers to deliver better outcomes by spending less time on paperwork and more time on cases.
ChildFirst Solution – See ChildFirst Mobile Software Solution.
Class 1, Division 2 – Class 1 refers to flammable gases or vapors in the air in quantities great enough to produce an explosion. Division 2 refers to the probability of hazardous material being present in an ignitable concentration.
Clear Area – See “Quiet Zone”
Codabar – (2 of 7 Code, Code 27). A numbers-only barcode consisting of seven modules, two of which are wide
Code 39 – (3 of 9 Code). A full alpha-numeric barcode consisting of nine modules, three of which are wide
Code 93 – A full alpha-numeric barcode capable of encoding all 128 ASCII characters
Color Correction – To change or enhance the colors within an image (post-production).
Compact Flash (CF) – A type of memory card typically used in portable electronic devices.
Compliance Barcode Labeling – Package labeling in the same format and location, as determined by the specific requirements set by a given organization or industry.
Concatenation – The ability of a reading system to decipher information from several symbologies and translate the data into a single message.
Consumerization – The impact personal technologies (computing devices, applications, etc) from the consumer market has on business and government technologies.
Containerization – An alternative to full machine virtualization that virtualizes isolated systems.
Continuous Media – Marker or tag stock media that does not consist of any grooves or holes between each label. The length of the label must described within the label program.
Contrast – The difference between light and dark, or density between one tone and another.
COW – A “Computer on Wheels” is a mobile cart with a computer workstation that is easily transported from room to room in a healthcare or educational facility.
CP (Centronics Parallel) – A prevalent I/O interface in which data flows in only one direction, such as from the computer to the printer (or other device).
CPI – Characters per inch (see “Barcode Density”)
CPS – Child Protective Services
CPU (Central Processing Unit) – Controls and processes all of the information and instructions that a computer receives. Often referred to as the “brain” of a computer, the CPU performs mathematical operations and extracts, decodes, and executes command from memory.
Cropping – Removing a portion of an image outside the area of interest.
Customer Service – Our goal is to deliver the most positive customer experience possible. We strive to exceed your expectations, earn your business, and only when you are completely satisfied will we call it a success!
CYOD – Stands for “Choose Your Own Device”. Where technology adapters have the flexibility to utilize a variety of devices for a single application, such as a mobile POS platform that works with both Android and iOS devices.
Data Acquisition – Collecting data from physical conditions and converting the data to numeric values. This data is often collected through sensors and converters in industrial equipment.
Data Capacity – The total amount of memory space available in an RF tag
Data Collection – The systematic gathering of facts and statistics for measurement and evaluation, which is then used to answer questions and make informed decisions.
Datamatrix – Type of 2D barcode that encodes text and/or numeric data using small black and white square cells to make up a larger square or rectangular-shaped barcode.
Data Mining – Exploring, analyzing, and summarizing large amounts of business data to increase revenue and cut costs.
Data Rate – The rate data is transmitted between the description tag and interrogator measured in bytes per second.
Decoder – Part of the barcode reading system that interprets data received from electronic transmissions and relays that information to other devices.
Depth of Field – The span between the maximum and minimum plane where the barcode reader can interpret symbols. In photography, the amount of area between the nearest and farthest points in an image that is in focus.
DHHS– Department of Health and Human Services
Dictation – Orally speaking words aloud, which are then transcribed by hand or using voice-to-text technology.
Diffuse Reflection – The component of emulated light, which emits in all directions from the reflecting surface.
Digital I/O – A discrete signal utilized to control high/low, open/closed and on/off commands. Digital I/O is easier for Data Acquisition systems to handle than Analog values due to the binary language it utilizes. Some examples of Digital Input signals are switch closures, relay contacts, hardware triggers. Digital Outputs provides an ability to control the on/off of controls, relays, data transmission, alarms, signals, solenoids, etc.
Direct Part Marking (DPM) – Typically 2D Data Matrix symbols permanently imprinted, such as dot peen or laser/chemical etch onto various substrates. Direct Part Mark is commonly used in the automotive, aerospace, electronics and manufacturing industries and require a specialized DPM reader to decode.
Direct Part Mark (DPM) Reader – A highly-specialized barcode imager designed to read DPM codes.
Direct Thermal Printing (DT) –A method that requires direct thermal labels. These labels are chemically treated to become opaque when in the presence of heat, which creates an image on the substrate. Direct thermal material degrades from exposure to heat and light, reducing its longevity.
Display Resolution – The number of pixels that can be displayed on a computer monitor or other digital display device.
Distracted Patrol – Occurs when Law Enforcement Officers develop “tunnel vision” or experience mental distraction while on patrol, neglecting his/her own situational awareness or safe vehicle operation as a result of the information overload that comes from using technology devices.
DL Reader – See Driver’s License Scanner.
Driver’s License Reader (Drivers License Reader) – See Driver’s License Scanner.
Driver’s License Scanner (Drivers License Scanner) – A device used by Law Enforcement Officers to read the PDF-417 barcode on the back of driver’s licenses at traffic stops or accident/incident scenes. When used in conjunction with eCitation software, the information from a driver’s license is auto-populated into corresponding forms to save time and eliminate manual errors.
Dot Matrix – A type of printing where separate dots are printed in a grid formation (5×7, 7×9, etc.) creating bars, alphanumeric characters, and straightforward graphics.
Dot Size (Ink Jet, Dot Matrix, and Thermal) – The diameter of the impressed dot placed on a substrate in a matrix or line to form characters.
Dot Size (Scanner) – The ray of light that is emitted to scan a barcode symbol; ideally the width of the light emission is of equal width as the narrow bar.
Durable Medical Equipment – Medical equipment, covered by many insurances, that is used within the home to improve one’s quality of life.
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) – Assigns dynamic IP addresses to each device on a network, which makes administration easier from a management perspective.
EAN – The International Article Number, previously known as the European Article Numbering System, is as 13-digit barcode that is required to be on all products that do not have a Universal Product Code associated with it.
EAS – Electronic Article Surveillance; a method for preventing shoplifting or removal of properties. Special tags are fixed to merchandise, and are removed or deactivated by the clerks when the item is properly bought or checked out. A detection system sounds an alarm or otherwise alerts the staff when it senses active tags.
eCitation – Short for “electronic citation“, eCitations are citations and reports on a computer rather than in writing. Used by Law Enforcement, eCitations can collect information via scanners and imagers rather than handwritten reports. This saves time and streamlines the citation and ticketing process.
EDI – Electronic Data Interchange; a document standard that acts as a shared interface between two or more computer applications, it is a standard for exchanging commercial data. It is frequently used by big companies for e-commerce purposes, such as sending orders to warehouses or order tracking.
EDP – Electronic Data Processing; automated systems to process commercial data using relatively simple, repetitive actions to process large capacities of related information. For example: stock updates applied to an inventory, banking transactions applied to an account and customer master files, booking and ticketing transactions applied to an airline’s reservation system and billing for utility services.
Electronic Citation – See “eCitation”
Electronic Signature Capture – A paperless data collection method that collects a physical signature using a signature capture pad and stylus. The signature image is transferred and saved to applicable computer documents using specialized software.
Element – In a barcode symbol, a single bar or space.
Embedded PC – A PC that can be added to another system for expansion. Often utilized to control a specific part of a system, such as security, to give the system more computing power.
EMV Standard– Europay, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards are equipped with computer chips to enhance credit card security and reduce card fraud. Businesses must either use EMV chip readers during transactions or be liable for fraudulent purchases made with counterfeit cards.
Engineer – Professional problem solver.
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) – A term used to describe the assimilation of system software that can link a company’s particular operations—including human resources, financials, manufacturing, and distribution—with their customers and suppliers.
Evidence Quality Photos – Images of sufficient size, resolution and quality that can provide detail for comparison, examination and testimony. There is no standard recommended size.
Exposure – The amount of light allowed to act on photographic material. A product of the intensity and duration of light striking the film or sensor (controlled by ISO, F-stop and shutter speed).
External Awareness – In the public safety arena, an awareness of one’s immediate surroundings, including trends, triggers and behaviors of people nearby.
F-Stop – The lens setting that indicates the size of the aperture opening that lets light into your camera. This is an inversely proportionate number. Example: f/1.8 indicates a larger opening than f/5.6.
Field Service – Industry in which technicians travel from site to site to perform mobile repairs. Examples include plumbing, HVAC, cable company, etc.
Filter – A piece of glass or transparent material used over a lens to change the color or density of the entire image or certain areas within a scene.
Fixed Beam Scanner – Either a visible light or laser barcode scanner reading in a fixed plane. It requires a more precise positioning of barcode than a moving beam barcode scanner.
Flat Panel Monitor (FPM) – Thin, lightweight, high resolution display screens that use LCD or LED technology for superior readability.
Font – A specific size and style of a typeface.
Form Factor – The industry-standard size of a specific component, including the number of ports, dimensions, connectivity, and power type.
Fuzzy Logic – A computing term that is based on “degrees of truth” using a real number variable between 0 and 1, rather than “true or false” values of 0 and 1.
GbE LAN (Gigabit LAN) – When Ethernet frames are transmitted in local area networks (LANs) at a rate of a gigabit per second.
GS1 Databar – Type of barcode symbology that is commonly used for labeling fresh produce.
Getac – A leading provider of rugged laptops and tablets for applications in Law Enforcement, public safety, field service, and manufacturing.
Global Positioning System (GPS) – A satellite-based navigation system that provides location information such as driving directions, walking directions, and estimated time until arrival.
Guard Bars – The bars which are at both ends and center of a U.P.C. and EAN symbol. They provide a reference point for barcode scanning.
GUI – A Graphic User Interface takes advantage of a computer’s graphics means to make the program more user – friendly.
Hand-Held Scanner – A small device that easily fits in the user’s hand and optically scans barcodes, images, printed text, handwriting, or an object, and converts it to a digital image.
Hardware – Computer or electronic components including the machine itself, wiring, peripherals (ie- keyboard) and other physical components.
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) – A type of cable used to connect auto/video equipment.
HDR – “High Dynamic Range” produces a greater dynamic range of luminosity on images and photographs, resulting in a better, clearer picture.
High Density Barcode – This barcode type has narrow spaces and bars with an “X” dimension that is less than 7.5 mils.
Horizontal Barcode – A barcode or symbol presented in such a manner that its overall length dimension is parallel to the horizon (also called “picket fence”).
Hot Swappable – A device that allows one of its components to be swapped while the system is live (without powering down or rebooting). Commonly refers to a battery operated device in which the battery can be changed without powering down the device or using AC power, but also may refer to hard drives and redundant power supplies.
HHS – Department of Health and Human Services
Human Interface Device (HID) – Is a process by which humans work together with an electronic information system by entering data or providing output. An example of an HID device would be a keyboard or mouse.
Human Machine Interface (HMI) – A term used for a flat panel monitor, touch screen, touch panel computer or panel PC that is utilized to physically interface with an industrial application. These units enable the user to monitor, control software and make changes to their process(s) as required.
Human-Readable Barcode – The interpretation of barcode data, often printed immediately below the barcode in a readable format to humans.
iDoor – An Advantech-exclusive technology where a wide variety of standardized hardware platforms and technologies can be pre-configured to meet specific customer needs. Users select different connectivity types, protocols, and more to accommodate their needs.
Impact Printing – A printing device where print head pins strike against a ribbon and a substrate (also called dot matrix).
In-Counter Scanners – Scanners that sit fixed inside of a counter for barcodes to be passed over it. This is practical in high-volume environments such as grocery stores.
Industrial Computing – Applications in which the associated computing devices must be of superior quality and performance to endure a variety of environmental conditions (temperature extremes, dirt, dust, water, vibration, etc.) for an extended period of time, often 10 years or more. Industrial computers and peripherals generally have a 5-7 year availability window, allowing for standardization across the platform.
Industrial Internet of Things – The IIoT uses the Internet of Things in manufacturing to provide quality control, traceability, sustainability, and efficiency throughout the supply chain.
Industrial PC – Systems designed to operate functionally 24/7, 365 days/year. They are available in rack mount, wall mount, desktop, touch panel, panel PC and Embedded form factor. These PCs possess the durability to withstand the harshest of environments. The long product availability of 5-7 years enables the user to standardize with their on-floor systems and develop a “gold standard” image.
Industry 4.0 – Automation and data exchange technology (consisting of the Internet of Things, cloud computing, and cyber-physical systems) that has led to the creation of a “Smart Factory”.
Ingress Protection (IP) Rating – A two-digit scale for measuring protection from a specific matter (0-6), and liquid (0-8). IP65 is a common rating that can withstand a certain level of water pressure and dust.
Ink Jet – A method of printing using liquid ink, projected a drop at a time against a substrate.
Internal Awareness – In the public safety arena, an awareness of one’s own level of alertness or distraction, which can directly impact personal safety.
Internet of Things (IoT) – A constantly growing network of physical objects that do not require direct human interaction to operate. Instead, “things” connect to the internet and can send and receive data by communicating with other internet-connected objects and systems.
Interoperability – Where multiple systems, languages, and technologies as a whole are able to cross-communicate with one another.
Interleaved Barcode – A barcode where characters are paired together using bars to represent the first character and spaces to represent the second (e.g., Interleaved 2 of 5).
Interleaved 2 of 5 Code – A number-only barcode symbology consisting of five bars, two of which are wide. In this code both the bars and spaces carry information.
Inventory Tracking – A system that is used to define consumable and saleable materials/stock that is kept on-hand.
I/O – Stands for Input/Output. I/O is the communication from one system to another, or a system to an interface. A keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen are examples of input, whereas a monitor or interface would be examples of output.
IP65 – Industrial enclosure rating that means it is protected against dust and water projected from a nozzle.
ISA (Industry Standard Architecture) – A standard computer interconnection that allows 16 bits to flow between the motherboard circuit and an expansion slot card at a given time.
ISO – The sensitivity of a film or sensor to light, indicated by a number. The higher the number the more sensitive/”fast” the film or sensor. ISO or International Standards Organization sets a standardized scale for measuring sensitivity to light.
ISV (Independent Software Vendor) – A company that specializes in developing or selling software, designed for mass or niche markets.
Information Technology (IT) – The application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, recover, transfer and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. In the business world it is defined as the study, design, use, execution, maintenance and administration of an establishment’s technology life-cycle, which includes upgrading infrastructure hardware and software.
Interactive Voice Response (IVR) – A technology that allows a computer to interact with a database through the use of voice and dual-tone, multi-frequency tones input via keypad.
Industrial Panel PCs (IPPC) – rugged panel mount PCs with an aluminum front bezel and stainless steel chassis. These units were designed and intended for the harshest of environments. Some units include a hard anodic coating to prevent panel abrasion and acid corrosion. IPPCs include an IP65 rating and can be configured with a Core i3/i5/i7 CPU and DDR3 RAM. IPPCs also have the ability for more I/O expansion than most Panel PCs or Touch Panel Computers. That has become a determining factor for users requiring one/two PCI/PCIe slots for I/O expansion.
Jailbreaking – When a mobile device’s firmware is modified to allow unsigned code and unauthorized programs to run. Jailbreaking typically refers to Apple devices, whereas Rooting is the term used for Android devices.
Java Script – A scripting and popular computer programming language and is used to make web pages interactive.
Laser Marking – Labeling materials with a laser beam, often in the form of etching or engraving.
LEAN Manufacturing – The systematic removal of waste from workloads within a manufacturing system.
Lens Speed – A fast lens allows more light in and has a larger aperture opening than a slow lens.
Light Grenade – The deployable Light Grenade illuminates dark and dimly lit areas to provide a 360 degree field of vision and tactical advantage. Designed with Law Enforcement safety in mind.
Local Area Network (LAN) – A computer network that connects computers in a limited area such as a home, school, computer laboratory, or office building using network media. They will share a common infrastructure or a wireless link, and will often share a single server.
Laser Scanner – An optical barcode reading device using a low-energy laser light beam as its source of illumination. Often a hand-held device.
Light-Emitting Diode (LED) – A semiconductor that produces light at a wavelength determined by its chemical composition. The light source often used in barcode readers.
Linear Barcode – A barcode that encodes data in one dimension (1D). Data is encoded in the widths of the bars and spaces and no data is encoded in the lengths of the bars (See Code 128).
L-Tron Scanner – Also known as the 4910LR or “Black Beauty”, this driver’s license reader scans barcodes on licenses and vehicle registrations to eliminate manual traffic citations. https://www.l-tron.com/ecitation-resources
M2M (Machine to Machine) Communication – Devices within a network that exchange information and act on that information, without requiring input from humans.
Machine Learning – Computer programming that gives computers the ability to change and “learn” from new data, without additional programming required.
Machine-Readable Information – Data that is readable by a computer. Some types of machine-readable information can be understood by humans, while other types are meant solely for computer processing.
Magnetic Ink Character Recognition (MICR) – A technology used to verify the legitimacy or originality of paper documents, especially checks. Special ink, which is sensitive to magnetic fields, is used in the printing of certain characters on the original documents. Information can be encoded in the magnetic characters.
Malware – Harmful software that hackers use to cause damage to computer systems and steal personal information, such as usernames and passwords.
Manufacturing Resource Planning (MRP) – A method for the effective planning of all resources of a manufacturing business. It addresses operational, capacity and financial planning.
Matrix Codes – a two-dimensional bar code that represents information using both vertical and horizontal patterns.
Maxicode – A barcode that is a small square with a pattern of dots with a small bulls-eye in the center. An example of a company which uses the Maxicode barcode is United Parcel Service (UPS).
MDT (Mobile Data Terminal) – Computing devices, in law enforcement, that are used within patrol cars to display critical information, such as maps, data, diagrams and safety information, as well as for communication between the patrol car and the central dispatching office.
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF) – The amount of time between failures, often used in IPCs and Ethernet switches.
Misread – A condition, which occurs when the data output of a barcode reader does not agree with the data encoded in the barcode symbol.
MLC (Multi-Level Cell) Flash – A popular type of consumer-grade flash memory that has lower cost than SLC flash cards, but slower transfer speeds and higher power consumption. Stores more than 1 bit of data per cell of flash media.
Mobile Application Management (MAM) – A company’s policy for the applications being used by mobile devices. May include web browser security measures, internal app store of approved applications, and organization email access.
Mobile Data Terminal – A computerized device used in public transit vehicles, courier vehicles, military logistics, warehouse inventory control, and emergency vehicles, such as patrol cars, to communicate with a central dispatch office.
Mobile Device Management (MDM) – A company’s policy for mobile devices. May include device encryption, PIN code regulations, device locking after idle time and remote actions following a loss or theft.
Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS) – mPOS is taking the components of your stationary POS system or Cash Wrap and putting it in the hands of your employees – literally.
Module – The narrowest nominal width unit of measure in a barcode.
mSATA (Mini-SATA) – A small-sized interface connector that enable SATA integration.
Nanoparticles – Microscopic particles, many of which have distinct melting points that are useful for labeling or tracking liquids or powders by using thermal imaging.
Near Field Communication (NFC) – Communication between two electronic devices that can occur when said devices are in close proximity to one another (approximately 10 cm).
Nominal – The exact (or ideal) intended value for a specified parameter. Tolerances are specified as positive and negative deviations from this value.
Non-read – In a barcode system, the absence of data output after an attempted scan due to no code, defective code, scanner failure or operator error.
Number System – A method of identifying individual or groups of objects. There are two types: 1) Significant digit where each item is uniquely identified and 2) Non-significant digit where sequential numbers are assigned regardless of product or item description.
Numeric – A character set that includes only numbers.
Omnidirectional – Barcodes which can be read in any orientation in relation to the scanner. Omni-directional barcode scanners will read poorly printed and even damaged barcodes.
On-Counter Scanner – Barcode scanners that sit on a counter in a retail environment. These scanners are practical for libraries, drug stores, and low-volume retail environments.
One-Dimensional (1D) Barcode – A complete barcode message is expressed in a single line of bars. Also commonly referred to as a linear barcode.
Open Frame – Computer monitor without a bezel, typically incorporated into some sort of housing.
Operating System (OS) – Is a software program that enables computer hardware to communicate and function with the computer software. The OS is an essential component and without it a computer and its software program would be useless.
Orientation – The alignment of a barcode symbol with respect to the horizontal axis. Two possible orientations are horizontal with vertical bars and spaces, and vertical with horizontal bars and spaces.
Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) – Manufacturers products that are bought and sold under a purchasing company’s name. IBM defines OEM as “a manufacturer of equipment that may be marketed by another manufacturer.”
OSCR360 – For Law Enforcement and Prosecuting Attorneys, OSCR360 quickly and easily capture high-quality, 360 degree spherical images of crime scenes and crash scenes, plus stores all ancillary evidence, which can be used later as a presentation tool, complete with a virtual tour, chain of events, and photographic timeline.
Painting with Light – A lighting technique used in dark areas where flash or a flashlight adds light to bring out details. The camera must be set on a tripod for long exposures.
Panel PCs (PPC) – Panel mount units designed for industrial automation applications. They include a rugged IP65 front bezel along with Atom single/dual core and i3/i5/i7 CPU options. There are also PCI/PCIe I/O expansion capabilities via a riser card. This unit isn’t as rugged or expansive as an IPPC but does offer more external I/O support than a TPC.
Parallel Interface – A link between data processing devices on which the data moves over multiple wires concurrently. With a parallel interface, data is received and then processed simultaneously. A common parallel interface option is Centronics® (36 pin) parallel.
Passive RFID – A tracking system that uses tags that are powered by an RFID reader’s electromagnetic energy.
PC (Personal Computer) – A relatively small, inexpensive and consumer-grade computer, as compared to industrial computers, which are more expensive and rugged.
PCB (Printed Circuit Board) – A flat insulating sheet that uses etched copper sheets (or other conducting material) to connect and mechanically support electronic components.
PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) – Used for high-speed operations, this singular connection between a computer (microprocessor) and its peripherals requires closely spaced expansion slots.
PCIe (Peripheral Component Interconnect Express) – Used as a replacement for PCI, this two-way, serial connection between a computer (microprocessor) and its peripherals has two pairs of point-to-point data lanes.
Peripherals – Devices that are attached to computers, such as a mouse, keyboard, scanner, camera, speakers, and more.
Person in Chair (PIC) – Another word for a computer virus.
PICMG – The “PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group” is composed of hundreds of industrial computer companies that collaborate to develop specifications for PCI-based systems and boards.
Primary Subject – The idea or object framed. Can be a single object, aspects of a scene or even a larger area with many items in the perimeter.
Print Contrast Signal (PCS) – A measurement of the ratio of the reflectiveness between the bars and spaces of a symbol, commonly expressed as a percent
PDF417 – A 2D-stacked barcode symbology that allows thousands of characters to be stored in its data format of multi-stacks. Most states use this type of barcode for driver’s license information. Healthcare facilities may also use the PDF417 for patient records because of the amount of data it can store.
Portable Data Terminal (PDT) – A digital device such as a display terminal, data entry terminal, or printer which may be used to view or enter data.
Point-of-Sale (POS) – The point at which a customer makes a payment to the merchant in exchange for goods or services; typically in a retail establishment.
Presentation Mode Bar Code Scanning – In this mode the scanner’s LEDs remain dim until a bar code is presented to the scanner. When a barcode is presented & detected the LEDs turn up, the aimer turns on, and the scanner scans the bar code. This mode tends to do a better job with “bad” barcodes.
Printed Circuit Board (PCB) – A flat insulating sheet that uses etched copper sheets (or other conducting material) to connect and mechanically support electronic components.
Print Quality – The measure of compliance of a barcode symbol to the requirements of dimensional tolerance, edge roughness, spots, voids, reflectance, PCS, quiet zone, and encoding.
Proprietary Interface – A software library interface that is just for one device or one manufacturer’s devices.
QR Code –Also known as a quick response code is a machine-readable code consisting of an array of black and white squares, typically used for storing URLs or other information for reading by the camera on a smartphone. Data is mined from the horizontal and vertical patterns in the image.
Quality Promise – Our process includes proactive customer service and 100% order review by trained staff to prevent order errors before the order goes out.
Quiet Zone – A clear space, containing no machine readable marks, which precedes the start character of a barcode symbol and follows the stop characters. Sometimes called the “Clear Area”.
Rackmount PC – 19” rack mountable industrial PCs configured in 1U/2U/4U/5U/6U/7U form factors. Two popular options are ATX Motherboard and Passive Backplane configurations. If your I/O requirements are minimal, you can go with an ATX Motherboard system. If you require IO of expansion of 8-20 slots, you can utilize a passive backplane PC. Rack mount systems can be configured with single or multiple SBCs, RAID, removable HD/SSDs, I/O cards, value-added software and an LCD/industrial monitor.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) – The wireless, non-contact use of radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data, for the purposes of automatically identifying and tracking tags attached to objects.
Radio Frequency (RF) – Often used as a synonym for radio to describe the use of wireless communication, as opposed to communication via electric wires.
Radio Frequency (RF) Tag – An electronic tag capable of receiving/storing and/or transmitting digital information by means of, and in response to, RF energy.
RAM (Random Access Memory) – A memory component within a computer where data is stored, specifically, the data pertaining to any open programs or applications.
Range – In a radio frequency system, range is defined as the maximum allowable distance between the antenna and the tag.
Raw File – The data captured by a digital camera sensor before it is converted into an image file.
Read Rate – The percentage of barcodes that a scanner reads correctly.
Redundancy – Ability to store the same data in multiple locations for extra back-up in mission-critical applications.
Registered Jack (RJ) Connection – A standardized networking interface that connects data equipment and telecommunication devices.
Remote I/O – Digital and Analog Input/Modules in RS485, Ethernet & Ethernet/IP interface utilized to communicate with external peripherals to send and obtain information required for the application process and data collection.
Resolution – The number of pixels that make up an image. A higher resolution equals a higher quality and more detailed image.
Return On Investment (ROI) – The traditional measure is evaluating the efficiency and benefits of an investment relative to the cost also known as ‘hard ROI’ which is driven by numbers and data. ROI also doesn’t have to be just dollars and cents! ‘Soft ROI’ evaluations can include: Time (reduced errors, increased productivity, etc) & Personnel (increased safety, job satisfaction, and reduced need for training)
Rooting – When a mobile device’s firmware is modified to allow unsigned code and unauthorized programs to run. Rooting typically refers to Android devices, whereas jailbreaking is the term used for Apple devices.
Ruggedized – Designed to withstand shock, vibration, and the elements. Often important in manufacturing and field services.
SATA (Serial Advanced Technology Attachment) – A fast serial interface that only requires a simple circuit on the motherboard.
SBC (Single Board Computer)– A complete, functioning computer that is built on a single circuit board.
SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) – This industrial control system allows visibility and control of sites, factories, assembly lines, and more. SCADA allows humans to look at the health or overall status of a system to determine what needs to happen to keep the system stable and up to date.
Scale – The relative size of an object compared to other objects in the scene/area. This also refers to the measuring device(s) used to document object size in a photograph.
Scanner – An electronic device that reads barcodes by projecting a beam that electro-optically converts bars and spaces into electrical signals and transmits it back to the host device.
Scope Creep – Refers to the changes in a project’s goals or the expansion of a project’s overall scope, which leads to project management difficulties.
Serial Interface – The process of sending data one bit at a time, sequentially, over a communication channel. Common serial interface communications are RS232 C, RS422, and RS485 and USB.
Shutter – The movable curtain in a camera that controls the time light is able to reach the sensor.
Single-Board Computer (SBC) – A complete computer built on a single circuit board. SBCs have microprocessors, memory, and I/O all built on the same board. Some are made to be plugged in to a backplane for expansion purposes.
Situational Awareness – In Law Enforcement, the ability of an Officer to remain aware of what is going on around him/her during any given time on duty, despite the many distractions that occur.
Skew – Rotation of a barcode which can affect a barcode scanners ability to correctly read the barcode.
SLC (Single-Level Cell) Flash – A type of flash memory with faster transfer speeds, lower power consumption, and higher cost than MLC USB cards. Stores 1 bit of data per cell of flash media.
Smart Device – An electronic device that is connected to other electronic devices or networks. Smart devices use wireless protocols including Bluetooth, WiFi, 3G and more to communicate with one another.
Smart Label/Smart Tag – Affixed to an object for identification and tracking purposes, using RFID technology rather than traditional barcode technology.
SMART Technology – Stands for “Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology”
Social Worker – A government employee working to improve the lives of individuals, families and communities.
Software – Programs, instructions, or data used by a computer to operate.
Specular Reflection – The mirror-like reflection of light from a surface that can interfere with a barcode scanners ability to properly read a barcode.
Spherical Imaging – A technical approach to collecting images/scenery by viewing it through a single perspective. These are linear images that allow the viewer to “see” in 360 degrees.
SSD (Solid State Drive) – A storage component commonly used for laptop computers.
Start Stop Character or Pattern – A special barcode character that provides the scanner with start and stop reading instructions as well as a scanning direction indicator. The start character is normally at the left-end of a horizontally oriented symbol. The stop character is normally at the right-end of a horizontally oriented symbol.
STEM – Refers to education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
Stop Bit – Indicates the end (either of a character or a transmission) in asynchronous data transfers.
Streaming Presentation Mode – The scanner’s LEDs remain fully on and the scanner is always scanning. When a bar code is presented, the aimer turns on and the barcode is “scanned.” This mode tends to scan good bar codes faster. In Streaming Presentation Mode there is even a Normal flavor and an Enhanced flavor. Normal = Good scan speed and the longest working ranges. Enhanced = Fastest scan speed but less range.
Supercapacitor – A high-capacity power source that stores a large amount of energy. As compared to a rechargeable battery, a supercapacitor charges more quickly and can tolerate many more charges and discharges.
Symbol – A combination of barcode characters including start/stop characters, quiet zones/data characters, and check characters as required by a particular symbology, and that form a complete, scannable entity.
Symbol Density – The number of data characters per unit length.
Symbol Length – The distance between the outside edges of the quiet zones.
Symbology – A type of barcode. Examples include: CODABAR, CODE39, EAN8, PDF417, UPCA, QR CODE, DATA MATRIX, GS1 DATABAR and more.
Synthetic Labels – An alternative to paper labels that are generally more durable and often tear-resistant, heat-resistant, moisture-resistant, scratch-resistant, and/or chemical-resistant.
Systems Integrator – A team that combines hardware and/or software products to build a computing system, often contributing to software development, implementation, debugging and other forms of project support.
Terminal Emulation – A program that emulates a video terminal, allowing one computer terminal to look like another.
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) – Suite of communications protocols used to connect computers on the Internet.
Thermal – A printing technology where dots are selectively heated and cooled along a heat sensitive substrate coated with chemicals that react to the heat, changing color and forming characters or images. (See Direct Thermal)
Thermal Transfer – A printing technology where the print head heats a ribbon which transfers wax or resin to the substrate.
Thermal Printer – A type of memory card typically used in portable electronic devices.
Topaz – Leading provider of electronic signature capture solutions.
TPC (Touch Panel Computer)– Ultra-slim, fanless and lightweight stand-alone HMI computers that stand up well to vibration.
Traceability – The use of a documented process to identify and verify the history, location and application of an item.
Traffic and Criminal Software (TraCS) – A PC-based crash reporting system that enabled Officers to capture data on-scene. Started in Iowa, TraCS is now a common citation and reporting system utilized in 14 states and growing.
Two-Dimensional (2D) Barcode – Digitally encodes data in horizontal and vertical dimensions. 2D codes can store much more information per square unit than a 1D code.
Uniform Code Council (UCC) – The organization which administers the U.P.C. and other retail standards.
Universal Product Code (UPC) – The standard barcode symbol for retail food packages in the United States.
Universal Serial Bus (USB) – An industry standard developed in the mid-1990s that defines the cables, connectors and communications protocols for connection, communication, and power supply between computers and electronic devices such as keyboards, digital cameras, printers, portable media players and network adapters to communicate and supply electric power.
User Datagram Protocol (UDP) – An alternative to Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) that can run on top of the IP protocol, establishing a low latency connection between applications to send datagrams.
Verifier – A device that makes measurements of the bars, spaces, quiet zones, and optical characteristics of a symbol to determine if the symbol meets the requirements of a specification or standard.
Vertical Barcode – A barcode or symbol presented in such a manner that its overall length dimension is perpendicular to the horizon (also called a ladder).
Virtualization – The software behind cloud computing, that works by creating a virtual version of an operating system, hardware platform, storage device, or other computing component.
Virtual Reality (VR) – The creation of a computer-generated 3D image/environment that can be physically interacted with using special electronic equipment.
Voice-to-Text – Detects speech input and converts to written text using voice recognition software.
Void – The undesirable absence of a piece or all of a character in a barcode symbol.
VPN – Virtual Private Network. Used by businesses to add an extra layer of security and privacy to their networks.
Wand Scanner – A hand held scanning device used as a contact barcode or OCR reader that reads one bar or space at a time, requiring the user to move or swipe the device across the surface of the barcode
Wedge – A device that plugs in between a keyboard and a PC allowing data to be entered by either the keyboard or a barcode scanning device.
Workflow – The systematic organization of resources and processes that results in a repeatable, predictable pattern of day to day operations.
Working copy – A duplicate of a recording that can be used for processing or analysis.
Work In Progress (WIP) – Product/service that is in the middle of the production process. Somewhere in between the start and completion. Can also be used to describe an ongoing, endless project.
X Dimension – The nominal dimension of the narrow bars and spaces in a barcode symbol.
What is a Barcode?
Barcodes are Everywhere!
A barcode is a machine readable code consisting of printed and patterned bars, spaces and geometric patterns. Barcodes (also commonly spelled “bar codes”) are used to store data and identify/track objects and assets.
The first patent for a barcode-type product was issued to inventors Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver in 1952 and can be described as a “bull’s eye” pattern made up of concentric circles.
The barcode has certainly evolved since 1952!
Linear (1D) Barcodes
The most common barcode today is a series of parallel lines and is referred to as linear or 1D (one dimensional). Linear barcodes are most often found on consumer products in the form of a UPC, with the purpose of tracking inventory. This type of barcode can be scanned using any type of barcode scanner, barcode reader, or even your mobile device. Have you noticed how quickly you can check out at the grocery store? Thank you, linear barcode!
Stacked (2D) Barcodes
A stacked or 2D (two dimensional) barcode is a group of linear barcodes stacked on top of one other, and boy, can it hold some data – up to 2500 characters, to be exact! 2D barcodes do not use parallel lines and can consist of rectangles, dots, hexagons and other patterns. They typically contain alpha-numeric data and must be read with a 2D barcode scanner.
A common type of stacked barcode is the PDF417, found on the back of many states drivers’ licenses. All of the data from the front of your license is contained in the PDF417 barcode on the back. One quick read with an eCitation scanner and the data is uploaded into a computer within a matter of seconds; the Police Officer has you in the system and can quickly get you that ticket. Now that’s “great” service?!
The popular QR (Quick Response) code falls into the 2D category, as well. They are popping up everywhere – just pick up a magazine and there are bound to be QR codes in multiple advertisements. You can scan one with your mobile device, as long as the device is equipped with a camera and a QR code application. Scanning a QR code with your mobile device enables you to browse websites, initiate phone calls, send short messages, view business cards, watch videos and even make purchases. How did we survive for so long without QR codes?
You can easily create QR codes, and other barcode symbologies, by using a free barcode generator tool! The barcodes listed above are among the most popular and common types out there, but with more than a dozen symbologies to choose from, how do you find the best fit for your requirement?
Some questions to consider:
- What is your application?
- How much data do you need in your barcode?
- What are your space requirements to apply a barcode?
- How will you (or others) read the barcode?
- Where will the barcode be located in your environment?
We are here to help!