20 Nov, 2014

Choosing the Best Barcode Scanner in 2015: Understanding Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)


Imagine you’re a manager who needs to purchase barcode scanners for 100, or even 1,000 employees. Which devices should you purchase? Should you choose a traditional mobile computer, or are smartphone devices a reliable and cost effective alternative?

In order to help answer this question, we developed a comparison of the cost and feature differences between popular barcode scanning devices. The comparison focuses on establishing one of the most important metrics for decision makers: total cost of ownership (TCO).

View Barcode Scanner TCO Comparison

The Juicy Stuff

  • A popular mobile computer can cost over 5x as much as a rugged smartphone throughout the lifetime of the device, despite having less functionality.
  • Rugged smartphones produced by traditional barcode scanning hardware manufacturers cost almost 3x as much as alternatives over the lifetime of the device, despite having less functionality.
  • Even a relatively expensive and fully featured device like the iPhone 6 (with a IP68 rugged case) is cheaper than alternative rugged smartphones produced by traditional barcode scanning hardware manufacturers.

The Fine Print

Our comparison found that the TCO of the Motorola MC3190 mobile computer is 512% more than that of a Kyocera Brigadier industrial smartphone running Scandit, and 280% more than a ruggedized, encased iPhone 6 running Scandit. Additionally we found that the TCO of the Honeywell Dolphin 70e industrial smartphone is 287% more than that of a Kyocera Brigadier rugged smartphone running Scandit, and 157% more than that of a ruggedized, encased iPhone 6 running Scandit. For a complete explanation of our calculations see the web page.

Let’s See How That Scales

Strap in and hold on:

Lifetime TCO Calculations (4 yrs)
10 Devices
100 Devices1000 Devices*5000 Devices**
Kyocera Brigadier w/ Scandit
Encased iPhone 6 w/ Scandit
Honeywell Dolphin 70e
Motorola MC3190

*10% Volume discount applied

**20% Volume discount applied

But Can Smartphones Actually Scan Barcodes Reliably?

The truth is that enterprise-grade, camera-based barcode scanning has been a reliable alternative to laser scanning for several years now, and it’s continuously improving. Here are three things to think about if you doubt the power of smartphone-based barcode scanning:

1)   Watch this.

2)   Even Honeywell is in the smartphone business these days.

3)   Still aren’t convinced? Ok. Download this and test for yourself.

Even traditional manufacturers of barcode scanners have introduced a new class of smartphone devices designed to ease the passing of the traditional mobile computer. These companies are relying on the trust they’ve built through their strong market positions as well as the high cost of legacy scanning solutions to demand higher prices for their hardware and software than comparable solutions.

Why Our Numbers Are Conservative

Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) is calculated by assessing two categories of costs over a 4 year period: hard costs and soft costs. Hard costs involve the device itself, the software that runs on it and associated software development costs; while soft costs involve the training, operation and downtime costs.

We suspect that both our hard costs and soft costs are overstated for iOS and Android-based smartphones. The hard costs of these devices may be overstated because the VDC study we used to for our calculations was developed in the era of Windows CE. Many traditional mobile computer devices operate on Windows CE or Windows Mobile, which have higher associated development costs due to the difficulty of programming and the likelihood of bugs. Another consideration that could impact costs is that not all employees necessarily need dedicated scanning devices, and apps that leverage a smartphone’s camera can be extended to employees personal devices via BYOD policies. Additionally, soft costs such as training are likely overstated for iOS and Android-based smartphones due to the familiarity of the devices to users and the consumerization of IT trend.

The Conclusion

Smartphone-based barcode scanners can be significantly more cost-effective than traditional alternatives, while providing access to a broader range of functionality.

Additionally, it appears that while smartphones produced by traditional barcode scanner hardware manufacturers are an attempt to evolve from their traditional product offerings, the hardware is underwhelming (see comparison) and is currently sold at non-competitive price points.

The dramatic price gap between the systems offered by traditional scanner hardware manufacturers versus the systems that leverage Scandit’s agile smartphone-based barcode scanning software represents the power software has to reshape traditional markets. As they would say in Silicon Valley both mobile and software are eating the world. Yum.

Disagree? We’d Like to Hear from You

If you have questions or challenges to the assertions made in this blog post we invite you to email us, and we will attempt to address all of your questions and comments in a follow-up post.


18 Nov, 2014

Retailers Who Get Mobile Commerce Right Are Winning


A recent Q3 Performance Index released by MarketLive reveals some exciting data about the change in smartphone m-commerce shopping habits. Pulling from their own customer traffic and conversion data, MarketLive calls on retailers to acknowledge and face the growing demands of mobile commerce. The report makes it very clear that a strong mobile strategy is no longer optional for retailers.

Here are some of the overall highlights for Q3:

MarketingLive Performance highlights

Image from MarketLive, click to enlarge.

The data shows a continuing trend that shouldn’t be ignored: retailers who get mobile commerce right are winning. Having a strong mobile strategy in place puts mobile omni-channel retailers in a position to capitalize on the growing number of m-commerce shoppers who may use smartphones at various points in the shopping process. By providing multiple touch points, retailers can capture customers at any phase whether they are researching a product for the first time, or making a purchase directly from their device. A customer may do product research using a smartphone before visiting a store to inspect in person, and then purchase online at home using another mobile device or PC. No matter what customers do, retailers should be aware of these changes and seek to provide an engaging experience that addresses mainstream mobile commerce habits. Otherwise, customers will continue to seek out stores that provide a smooth mobile shopping experience.

The full report is available for download (registration required).

12 Nov, 2014

Blink to Scan: Mobile Order Fulfillment

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 3.57.17 PM

Last month we traveled to Berlin to attend the 2014 German Logistics Congress, where our CTO, Christian Floerkemeier, presented Scandit’s software-based mobile order fulfillment solutions. In his talk Christian discusses Scandit’s soon to be released Mobile App Suite for Transport & Logistics as well as the Pick by Vision demo app that enables hand-free barcode scanning to retrieve pick lists in warehouse environments using Google Glass.

After his talk, Christian was interviewed by a representative from the German Logistics Congress about Scandit’s technology and the future of Pick by Vision. Check out the complete presentation on mobile order fulfillment and watch the video [in German] of Christian’s interview to learn more about our exciting solutions for the logistics industry.


6 Nov, 2014

VDC Research Recognizes Scandit’s Revolutionary Approach to Software-Based Scanning in Retail


Press Release


San Francisco, November 6, 2014. Scandit (www.scandit.com), a developer of the leading software-based barcode scanning and data capture platform for smartphones, tablets and wearable computing devices, has received market recognition from industry analyst firm VDC Research for its revolutionary approach to Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) in retail. VDC provides commentary on the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend in enterprises and its impact on the barcode scanner market highlighting Scandit’s new Mobile App Suite for Retail, an integrated suite of mobile apps that enhances the consumer shopping experience and retail operations, providing fully customizable, cross-platform mobile applications for retail employees and customers.

In the recent blog article entitled, “Barcode Scanning – Now More About Software Than Ever Before,” Richa Gupta, Senior Analyst at VDC Research Group, writes; “Using a device’s built-in camera Scandit’s software platform allows for camera-based barcode scanning at any angle and with high read rates.” In addition, she explains, “Their software platform also provides features such as cloud services and the ability to easily perform software updates and maintenance.”

The blog post outlines high-profile clients already utilizing Scandit’s barcode scanner platform for a variety of retail use cases, such as Ahold, Homeplus (Tesco), and Saks Fifth Avenue, and details the customizable applications available as part of the new suite, including application templates for Mobile Shopping (mShopping), Self-Checkout, Shopping List, Clienteling, Procurement, and Mobile Point of Sale (mPOS). Gupta adds, Each of these templates currently contains a combination of several modules: Product Data Cache, List Management, User Management, Barcode Scanner, Analytics, Push Notifications, Sharing, and Payment… In the world of retail, mobile-assisted shopping and mobile self-scanning are becoming very popular trends. Scandit’s platform allows customers shopping at brick-and-mortar retail locations to use their own personal devices to scan items while they shop, thereby saving time and also cutting costs for the retailer.”

Samuel Mueller, CEO of Scandit, says; “We believe that our Mobile App Suite for Retail marks a sea change in the way that retailers and consumers can embrace and leverage mobile commerce to enhance the shopping experience by leveraging BYOD software-based scanning applications based on advanced AIDC functionality. The feedback of industry analysts, such as VDC Research, in recognizing the trends in mobile shopping that we are helping to lead, and the disruptive nature of our technology to the continued use of expensive dedicated scanning devices, will help us gain wider industry awareness and adoption of these new mobile technologies.”

Further information about the Mobile App Suite for Retail can be found at: http://www.scandit.com/products/mobile-app-suite-retail/

About Scandit

Scandit delivers high performance mobile solutions for smartphones, tablets and wearables, designed to transform consumer engagement and operational efficiency for today’s forward-looking enterprises. Scandit solutions are built on its patented software-based barcode scanner and are used in a variety of industries including retail, manufacturing and logistics. With more than 15,000 licensees in 80 countries, Scandit processes hundreds of millions of scans per year and develops enterprise-grade solutions for many of the world’s most prestigious brands including Ahold, Bayer, Coop, Homeplus (Tesco), NASA and Saks Fifth Avenue. Founded in 2009 by a group of researchers from MIT, ETH Zurich and IBM Research, today Scandit and its network of global integration and technology partners are pushing the boundaries of mobile AIDC (automatic identification and data capture), delivering ground-breaking identification and data capture applications to customers. For more information visit www.scandit.com.


Further information:

Ascendant Communications

E-mail for US & Europe: scandit@ascendcomms.net

US contact – Jessica Mularczyk: 508-498-9300

Europe contact – Julie Kirby: +44 (0) 7956 955625

5 Nov, 2014

Thinking about BYOD? Your Employees May Already Be Living It


If you work for a large enterprise, chances are you’re likely using a personal smartphone or tablet for work purposes. The Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend is here, whether employers are embracing it or not.

A recent study from Gartner reports that 40% of U.S. consumers who work for large enterprises are using their personal devices for primary or supplemental business processes. The study surveyed 4,300 U.S. consumers about their technology usage and attitudes to gain insight into how devices are used for work and play. The results may be a bit surprising to some.



25% of those surveyed about their use of personal devices at work reported that it was required by the employer. Somewhat surprisingly, only half of the remaining 75% of people who chose to use their own devices at work reported doing so with employer knowledge. Just going to show that enterprise employees are using their own devices for work whether employers want them to or not. This is something that large enterprises should take into consideration when considering the BYOD trend and it’s adoption.



While many CIO’s remain wary of security concerns related to BYOD policies, this data shows that adjusting IT policies to address employee use may be required. If employees are using their own devices without proper security measures or employer knowledge, it could me more of a concern than BYOD itself.

You can read more about the study and results from Gartner.

28 Oct, 2014

Scandit 2014-2015 Winter Events Calendar


As fall quickly passes us by we’re excited to look towards the coming winter months, when we’ll be showcasing our technology at a variety of conferences and events around the globe.

This winter features a mix of retail, logistics and mobile technology conferences taking place across Europe and North America. Check out our schedule:

11/05/14-11/06/14Customer Engagement WorldNew York NY (USA)
11/18/14-11/20/14Euro ID World International Congress 2014Frankfurt (Germany)
01/11/15-01/14/15NRF Big ShowNew York NY (USA)
02/14/15-02/16/15EuroShopDüsseldorf (Germany)
03/02/15-02/05/15Mobile World CongressBarcelona (Spain)
03/23/15-03/26/15ProMat 2015Chicago IL (USA)

We also frequent mobile developer meetups in the San Francisco Bay Area, Zurich and across Europe, so feel free to get in touch anytime if you’d like to meet up with one of our team members!

If you’re attending any of these events and would like to meet a Scandit executive or associate, simply tweet at @scandit during the event!

23 Oct, 2014

Are Mobile Apps Reshaping The Retail Industry?


Let’s face it: the ubiquity of mobile devices has forever changed the face of the retail industry for the better. Thanks to mobile technology, both shoppers and retailers are able to connect in new ways that have become the driving influence on the future of the industry. Mobile adoption has successfully bridged a long empty gap with customers, and provided a platform for retailers to build stronger relationships and streamline operations.

For Customers
Customers are now armed with mobile devices everywhere they go, empowering them to use mobile apps to improve their shopping experience. For them it’s personal. Whether it’s real time price comparison in-store, gathering detailed product information and user reviews or speeding up the checkout process, customers are using mobile apps to drive their own shopping experience. This gives customers the opportunity to be better informed and make smarter shopping decisions on-the-go or at home, no matter what time of day they want to shop. With today’s mobile apps it has never been easier to be a shopper. But if retailers don’t court the mobile consumer and ignore the desire for a more personalized experience, they will likely go elsewhere to shop. Consumers have mastered mobile apps, and they expect retailers to do the same in today’s mobile world.

For Retailers
Smartphones, tablets and wearable devices present retailers with new opportunities for engagement with customers that previous technology and dedicated devices couldn’t deliver. Retailers now have the ability to build robust personal relationships with individual customers based on their preferences, shopping styles, and mobile interaction. Consumer-facing retail apps allow retailers to sell to customers anywhere, whether they are sitting in their living room or traveling on an airplane. These new channels also provide unparalleled chances to run loyalty programs for returning customers, provide offers to new customers, and promote their latest products directly to customers via mobile apps. By catering to the mobile consumer, and leveraging the possibilities of mobile apps, retailers can increase customer loyalty and drive sales like never before.

Beyond interaction, mobile is also redefining the in-store experience with innovative employee-facing apps that power personalized clienteling services, have mobilized the checkout process and streamlined back of store operations. By mPOS apps freeing up valuable front of house real estate, clienteling and procurement apps speeding up internal operations and a variety of consumer apps fueling a new type of customer experience, mobile apps are facilitating new possibilities for all.

All in all, mobile applications are now driving a new era of retail by making it possible to unify existing channels while supporting, redefining and improving upon the existing retail processes.

21 Oct, 2014

Cassandra, Big Data Management and the Internet of Things


Every year, Scandit processes hundreds of millions of barcode scans from all around the world. Have you ever wondered what happens to all the data? We use a cloud-based data center to manage a robust backend infrastructure that administers our device and license system, provides users with valuable scan insights and reports scan performance through a real-time ‘Scanalytics’ Dashboard.

photo 4Last week, Scandit hosted an Internet of Things (IoT) Meetup at our Zurich Office, where our COO and co-founder, Christof Roduner, discussed how we use Cassandra to manage the large amounts of data produced by mobile and wearable devices scanning thousands of barcodes with Scandit technology on a daily basis. Using Cassandra, we manage a scalable backend that stores billions of scan records and supports a large number of concurrent client requests. With multiple data centers, and a wide rows data model, we run a low maintenance infrastructure that adapts as our customer base grows. Check out the full presentation to learn more.

The Meetup also featured other local Zurich speakers in the IoT space. Joël Gähwiler, who is studying interaction design at the Zürich University of Arts presented Shiftr.io, a new multi-protocol data visualization and connectivity platform for the Internet of Things. Hannes Gassert, a technology entrepreneur, presented Opendata.ch, an association he co-founded to make data available and accessible – for more transparency, innovation and efficiency.Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 12.19.37 PM

Altogether, the IoT Meetup was a fun evening of discussion and education surrounding big data management, product interaction, and the Internet of Things. All of which are important subjects of daily interest for the members of the Scandit team.

16 Oct, 2014

If Barcodes Could Sing: Barcode Music

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.35.15 PM

At Scandit, we are always on the lookout for the latest creative uses for the barcode. We’re big fans of barcode art, poetry and now, music. This week, we came across a particularly exciting barcode that caught our eyes—and ears—as Moscow-based artist and engineer, Dimitry Morozov, released a barcode tattoo scanner that plays sounds upon decoding his 8-by-3-inch barcode tattoo.

“I wanted to combine two passions—electronic music and robotics—and I already had tattoos.” –Dimitry Morozov, Artist and Engineer

Morozov’s tattoo isn’t your average barcode. The artist and self-taught engineer designed the tattoo himself and retrofitted a barcode scanner using a stepper motor and Nintendo Wii remote to guide the sensors along his arm. Using the Wii remote accelerometer, Morozov can move his arm to adjust the tones distortion while reading the barcode.

While some people may not be crazy about the monotone barcode music, we think the device is very unique and we celebrate Morozov’s creative spirit for showing us something we have never seen before. You can read more about the device, and see it in action below.


14 Oct, 2014

Will Wearable Tech Change The Way We Fly?


Wearable technology might play a role in improving your next travel experience as airlines adopt new methods for checking-in and boarding passengers for flights. Virgin Atlantic recently finished a six-week trial of wearable devices at London’s Heathrow Airport. Virgin utilized Google Glass and the Sony SmartWatch to upgrade the flight experience at the gate.

Passengers on Virgin Atlantic flights were greeted by name upon check-in, and were sped through the boarding process by wearable technology utilized by airport staff. Virgin Atlantic staff were able to provide up-to-the-minute flight information, boarding times and flight updates to travelers with the blink of an eye, or the flick of a wrist, providing what many felt to be a smoother flight procedure.

After a brief adjustment period, airport staff reported that they felt comfortable with the devices and empowered to provide travelers with a better overall experience. With the reduction of paperwork, Virgin also saw an increase in productivity. While this is only a trial, recent survey data suggests that the majority of travelers are already on board with the use of wearable tech at the airport.

While we haven’t heard any reports of airport staff using wearable devices to scan boarding passes, we expect to see this in the future as the adoption of these devices becomes more common across the industry. With wearable barcode scanning already a reality with Scandit, we think it’s only a matter of time.