How fast will you be able to scan barcodes with your camera or Android barcode terminal with our scan drivers? Cost savings: is it worth buying a terminal with integrated scanner instead of a rugged smartphone? Comparatives.
Cost savings and acceptable barcode reading rates with our camera drivers
- 4 minutes read - 817 words
we develop our own Android camera scan drivers
In Oct 2022, we developed our own new driver for scanning faster than ever before by Android smartphone camera, and we’ve just improved it.
How fast will you need to scan barcodes with your Android device? The camera or a barcode terminal with integrated imager/scanner?
Impact on the cost of ownership of the mobile scanning solution. Comparisons.
Which mobile can I scan with?
Basically, you can scan with a smartphone camera, whether Android or Apple (ios). Then on more complex devices, with an integrated 1D scanner or 2D imager (integrated scanner), but this depends on the embedded driver in these devices, whether it can be accessed by software or not (“SDK” supplied, which require integration work).
Barcode scanning speed depends on
depends on :
the quality of the optics, the firmware of your camera (always the one on the back of the device), imager or scanner integrated into your smartphone, in this case called a “rugged terminal”.
the quality, font and size of your printed barcodes: if you have items or labels that you don’t know how to print, reading the barcode font (see barcode reading principle) will take more or less seconds or milliseconds, depending on the reader, or may not be readable at all!
the position of the barcodes on the label: proximity, number, white “quiet zone” around each one,
software ergonomics: the position of keys and touchpads will save you one or two seconds per scan,
the amount of information to be completed by the operator: this depends on the needs of the application.
Here, we’ll concentrate on the first 3 points.
Which application for which machine?
We develop Android applications that generally integrate both reading technologies:
on terminals with integrated scanners, which integrate the latest programs known to manufacturers and their reading heads.
on smartphones via the camera.
Camera: an acceptable alternative to the imager with our camera scan driver
As developers, we’ve been concentrating on improving the cheapest solution for our customers: the smartphone camera. We developed a new driver, almost twice as fast as the old ones, which we have been integrating into our new traceability applications since the end of October 2022.
It was upgraded in October 2023.
Impact of scan speed on installation costs
We have measured that, for the same simple application, you can save three (3) times more time with an integrated scanner than with a smartphone with the classic camera driver.
Unfortunately, this comes at a price:
in hardware: terminals with scanners are much more expensive, some in the same proportion,
in development: integrating the access libraries for these scanners takes time, specifically for each piece of hardware required, and is therefore passed on to the costs of participating in the development and updating the programs, and therefore the license.
So, the right question to ask before requesting development or mobile scan configuration
At what minimum speed will I need to scan? At what distance will I need to scan?
With these two questions in mind, we decided to look at the classic camera driver.
After a month’s development, we’ve come up with a solution for mid-range cameras (if this development is any good, it’ll be even better with better cameras), which allows you to spend just 50% more time than with an imager.
The better the camera, the better the ratio.
To give levels of speed values, in close reading, you can scan, with the
you can scan, with validation key (for work) at speeds FOR 10 different barcodes, in different positions, up to approx:
70 seconds with your smartphone’s camera (depending on optics and on-board firmware, here classic)
25 seconds with integrated scanner, (scanning one by one)
and with our camera driver, it takes 38 seconds, or even 10 seconds in special continuous scan mode.
So : is the choice of terminal with imager necessary for close reading? ?
The imager has undeniable advantages in medium and long-range reading, white codes on transparent or black backgrounds, and on extremely small codes (4 to 8 mm) is another factor to take into account.