Passbook Pass Scanners
Aside from the API to use Passbook iOS6 in business, you’ll also need physical hardware to actually scan each pass that you provide for your customers. This is because you need to validate/invalidate that the pass with the barcode your customer is presenting you at your point-of-sale is authentic, so proper equipment must be available at your outlet.
Passbook Pass Barcodes
Passbook passes can only contain 2D barcodes, which are different from the standard printed 1D ones. 2D barcodes can be read from a device, which works perfectly with Passbook since all passes are going to be digitalized. Some examples of 2D barcodes we have tested with Passbook are:
- QR codes
Passbook and POS Systems
Most businesses who distribute cards, tickets, coupons, or passes already have a point-of-sale system in their businesses. The barcodes that are present on these passes must be scanned by some device, in most cases a 1D or 2D scanner. You must be aware that Passbook passes are in the form of 2D barcodes, so a 2D barcode scanner (some of which are installed in point-of-sale systems) are needed to read the information on those passes. Many businesses wouldn’t need to invest in extra equipment to use Passbook as they already have 2D barcode scanners at their point-of-sale.
2D Barcode Scanner Apps
For businesses who are lacking in such equipment, there is no need to worry. Your business wouldn’t have to invest in heavy and expensive infrastructure at all. Since Passbook passes contain 2D barcodes, many simple camera applications (which can be downloaded for free at the app store) are equally competent in reading the barcodes. If your business has an iPod Touch, iPhone, or any device with an application installed that scans 2D barcodes, then it will work. Your Passbook barcode content can be read immediately. However, be aware of PDF417 barcodes and scanners as they may require higher resolution scanners to actually read the information. Read our blog post for more information.
Standard Barcode Scanners
Standard barcode scanners come with a USB or cable that is plugged into a computer or POS system. All that these scanners contain is the scanner piece to read barcodes and a button users can press to scan. There aren’t any fancy LCD screens or keyboard input on these devices. In order to use them to validate or read barcodes, a program like Notepad or a custom application on the computer must be opened so that the message encoded in the barcode would appear on the computer or POS screen. These barcode scanners have quick recognition features and are much cheaper than wireless barcode scanners.
Wireless Barcode Scanners
These types of scanners look like a large remote of some sort. With an LCD screen placed on the top of the scanner, along with a keyboard and numeric input below it, and the scanning piece underneath the device, these wireless barcode scanners are very convenient and easy to use. The fact that they are wireless allows for mobility and not having to stay connected to a computer of POS system. Many of these scanners nowadays are even wi-fi enabled, so scanning a barcode that links to a website with the device will automatically take the user to the source and display it on the LCD screen. Some drawbacks to using these scanners may include shorter battery life, slower barcode recognition than standard computer plug in scanners, and are more expensive. Most wireless barcode scanners read both 1D and 2D barcodes, so it is important to double check before actually purchasing one.