Many enterprises are turning to smartphone scanning to power a number of workflows and unlock new productivity gains. Executives are looking to take advantage of ubiquitous smartphones, with increasingly powerful CPUs and cameras that often enable them to help employees do more, while costing less, compared to dedicated barcode scanners.
In fact, the number of smartphone users worldwide today surpasses three billion and is forecast to further grow by several hundred million in the next few years. Android smartphones with Scandit software can turn any device into an enterprise-grade, fast barcode scanner. However, there are a huge range of devices to choose from on the market. You need to ensure you equip your employees with the right tools for their job roles and the different scanning use cases they may be completing.
So when choosing the best device to run your barcode scanning software, there are a number of performance factors to consider. Our 2020 Enterprise Android Device Guide for Barcode Scanning highlights Scandit’s approach to decoding barcodes and testing smartphone performance for use in enterprise.
Here, we’ve shared the ten key smart device barcode scanning performance features you should weigh up:
- Decode Speed
- Maximum Scan Range
- Fast Batch Scanning
- Tiny Code Scanning
- Low Light
- Power Efficiency
- Multiple Code Scanning and Augmented Reality
1. Decode Speed
Decode speed is the speed at which a device can read (decode) a barcode. It is a critical success factor for any scanning use case, whether you have a high or low volume of scans. This is because user experience often determines the success or failure of your app, and users will expect the same or similar scanning performance as dedicated devices.
In employee-facing applications, faster scan speeds are important to deliver greater operational efficiencies and ensure high employee adoption rates. In back of house applications, such as warehouse picking, swift scanning is essential for a smooth and efficient workflow.
Key factors that determine if a device will scan fast include:
- Camera Initialization Speed – The faster the camera can be initialized, the quicker a barcode can be scanned.
- Autofocus Control and Exposure Control – Exposure and autofocus control determine how fast the camera responds to scene changes.
2. Maximum Scan Range
In certain situations, it’s important to be able to scan items that are further away than arm’s length. For example:
- Scanning items on the bottom shelf without having to repeatedly bend down.
- Scanning pallets out of reach or raised on shelves.
- Scanning an event ticket held by a customer.
The attributes of the barcode (size, print quality and type) and the smartphone’s camera capabilities (exposure, focus handling, and resolution) all play a role here. Additionally with the right algorithms, such as those within Scandit’s barcode scanner SDK, the maximum decode range of any smartphone can be extended two or three-fold.
3. Fast Batch Scanning
Some businesses need devices to act as a fast barcode scanner, scanning more than 500 times a day. This is regarded as a high-throughput use case. In this instance, scanning items quickly is crucial for delivering an efficient user experience. Typical use cases include:
- Order Entry.
- Package Delivery.
- Stock Taking.
- Warehouse Picking.
The key factor is when the user moves the device from code to code, the amount of time the camera focus takes to adjust.
4. Tiny Code Scanning
Certain use cases require smartphones to read tiny barcodes printed or etched on small objects. This is quite common in industrial scenarios where codes hold a significant amount of information. These types of barcodes tend to be printed on products with limited space, such as consumer electronics or fresh produce.
A smartphone’s ability to decode a tiny barcode is mainly influenced by its camera’s resolution, autofocus and exposure capabilities.
5. Low Light
Scanning in low light is a very common requirement for Scandit customers across a number of industries and use cases. A camera that performs well in low light conditions will significantly enhance the user experience.
Low light presents a challenge for any camera, especially for smartphone cameras due to their smaller sensor size. Key factors are:
- Ability to maximise light capture.
- Image stabilization.
Scandit barcode scanning software can even scan barcodes at 0.9lx
6. Power Efficiency
Being able to use a device for a full workday or shift on one charge can be critical for certain use cases. This is particularly true where multiple scans are required (e.g.tens of thousands of scans per day) and/or access to power or backup devices/batteries is not a given, or is not practical.
Typical use cases demanding power efficiency include:
- Field Service tasks
- Warehouse Picking
- Event or Transportation Ticketing
- Inventory Management
Device power consumption is influenced by many factors,but primarily:
- Display backlighting
- GPS, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi & app activity.
During scanning, running the display and using the camera are the main activities and therefore demand the most power. Today, almost any smartphone equipped with the Scandit barcode scanning software can easily perform 6,000 scans on one charge, with some managing 25,000 depending on scan intervals.
Good ergonomics are important in high throughput and prolonged scanning use cases to reduce strain on users and improve overall workflow efficiency.
Several physical characteristics and design elements contribute to the ergonomics of any smartphone when using it as a fast barcode scanner. Some important factors to consider include device, weight, design and form factor (i.e. size, shape and style).
Some working environments can be more physically demanding on devices than others. For example,scanners used in outdoor environments may need to be more robust than scanners used in an office environment.
The best rugged smartphones are water and dust proof, with tough outer shells that can withstand drops, knocks and other shocks. This makes them ideal for use while working outdoors or in other challenging environments.
9. Multiple Code Scanning and Augmented Reality
Our MatrixScan solution dramatically speeds up barcode, text and image recognition processes by reading multiple barcodes in one scan. By overlaying augmented reality (AR) feedback, real-time information can be displayed to users on device screens.
For some use cases, MatrixScan (with AR overlay) will dramatically reduce the time it takes to perform key processes by up to 40%, saving companies time and money. Having a device which performs well with this software is essential if the benefits are to be fully realized.
Typical use cases include:
- Search & Find (with AR)
- Stock & Inventory Management
- Shipping & Receiving
Processing speed and camera resolution both influence a device’s performance with MatrixScan.
Frequent security updates are crucial for businesses to ensure that devices used by employees are protected and work effectively.
Devices should have additional security features, such as an option to separate private and business data, a strong data encryption on the device and a way to wipe data remotely.
The frequency of a device’s manufacturer to upgrade the operating system to the latest Android release is a key factor in determining a smart device’s security rating.
See which device is right for your enterprise
It’s a lot to consider, so we’ve done the hard work for you!
Our The 2020 Enterprise Android Device Guide for Barcode Scanning includes the comparative testing results of Scandit’s barcode scanning software for native apps running on several popular mobile devices.
We tested the scanning performance of different devices against the ten factors listed above, We selected a range of devices to represent different pricing tiers: high-end ($600 and above), mid-range ($250 -$600) and low-end devices (below $250).
Our product engineering team used a specific testing method for each criteria. The outcome of each test was then used to rank the phones against each criteria.