Google had to remind me. Yesterday, the barcode celebrated its 57th anniversary.
Despite the growing presence of RFID, the barcode still carries a lot of value. It's funny, every time it's my turn to write a story on RFID, I always ask participants if, in their professional opinion, they think the barcode will eventually be replaced by this fancier technology. And not a single person has responded: “Yes.” Coincidence?
Barcodes are everywhere—on labels, packaging and, yes, registries. I'm not sure what it is about 2009. Weddings—happy times—have thankfully balanced out the staggering amount of deaths this year has seen. I attended my first wedding of the year just last weekend (only to be followed by four more for the remainder of this year). And by default, that means I've attended just as many bridal showers. In turn, the barcode has become my close friend. I am now a master at matching all of those tiny, little numbers on the barcode of Gift XYZ against the item printed out on the bridal registry. This reminds me of my own bridal registry, which I got to create last year. My (now) husband loved zapping the barcode with the little retail gun—I mean scanner. Gotta love the barcodes on the delightfully packaged items of Macy's and Bed Bath and Beyond. I digress.
In addition, barcodes make money for the distributors and suppliers of our industry. Last year, our top 100 manufacturers reported $6.8 million in barcode sales, while our top 100 distributors sold $126 million (note, in combination with RFID for the latter). Also, remember, labels are a major part of the printing industry, and barcodes accessorize these products.
I guess what I'm essentially trying to say is: happy anniversary, barcode! Here's to another 57+ years.