The use of GS1 Digital Link
GS1 Digital Link is a standard that has been developed to give consumers an opportunity to find more information about a product by reading the barcode on an item with their mobile phone. GS1 Digital Link can also provide manufacturers with information about where the product is read, in which situations it is read and other additional information about consumer behaviour.
The GS1 Digital Link standard defines several ways to do this.
One can either have an app that is connected to a resolver (a kind of translator) that interprets the content of the barcode and adapts it to what desire or need there is for information in the setting the barcode is read. If you use a resolver, you can read all types of barcodes that contain a GS1 identifier (GTIN, GLN, SSCC, etc.).
You can also use the mobile phone’s built-in camera app to read barcodes that contain a GS1 Digital Link structure, but this sets requirements for the type of barcode used. To be sure that all smartphones on the market can interpret the information, one should use QR Code. This is the barcode type supported by most phones.
In the barcode you enter a URL in addition to GTIN and any additional attributes.
When the barcode is read by the camera app on a smartphone, you will be routed to the website with information about the product that is entered in the barcode.
If you use an app with a resolver, the URL that is entered in the barcode can be replaced with the URL that is entered in the resolver so that the reader can get the corrected information depending on which options are available in the app used.
The physical size of a 2D barcode varies according to the amount of information contained in it. The resolution of the barcode (X-dimension) must be a minimum of 0.375mm and a maximum of 0.990mm when using GS1 AI syntax in the barcode on Consumer unit.
The resolution of the barcode (X-dimension) must be a minimum of 0.396 and a maximum of 0.990mm when using GS1 Digital Link URI syntax in the barcode on consumer unit.
Quality and life span of the barcode
2D barcodes are verified according to the ISO standard ISO / IEC 15415. This is an international standard that describes the quality requirements for barcodes and how easy they are to read. Highest grade is 4.0 / 20/660. The minimum requirement is 1.5 / 20/660. The numbers indicate; character / aperture / wavelength of the light illuminating the barcode.
The service life of a barcode depends on the type of label material used and where / how the label is placed on the product. Label material / printing method must be chosen that has at least as long a shelf life as the assessed shelf life of the product to be labelled.
Placement of the barcode on the product
If 2 barcodes are placed on the product, a linear and a 2D barcode for use in POS or a linear and a GS1 Digital Link for consumer engagement or two 2D barcodes for both POS and consumer engagement, efforts should be made to place them adjacent on the packaging. This ensures that the barcode is read regardless of which barcode contains what you want to read. Programming the barcode scanners to ignore the type of code that should not be read will prevent erroneous readings.
Readability of the barcode
The readability of the barcode depends on the size of the barcode, the type of barcode reader and the distance from the barcode to the barcode reader. If the requirements for size and quality are followed, this is in accordance with industry standards and the barcodes can be read at a normal distance with normal equipment.
QR Code with GS1 Digital Link syntax for consumer engagement
For those manufacturers who wish to have a structured way of communicating with consumers, it is QR Code with GS1 Digital Link structure that should be used. By using GS1 Digital Link structure with GTIN coded in, it opens for all links in the value chain to provide targeted information to the person scanning the barcode. The consumer can obtain all available information from the manufacturer and / or the trade link. This is a barcode that can be read by most smartphones with its built-in camera app. In addition, consumers are used to the fact that QR Code can be read with the smartphone and give them more information. By splitting the information to be used for POS purposes and consumer-oriented communication, the QR Code with information to the consumer can also be pre-printed on the packaging and this will reduce the need for changes to the production equipment.
QR Code with consumer-oriented information can also be placed on the packaging together with the current EAN-13 barcode where it is not yet possible or desirable to have a 2D barcode with dynamic information for POS purposes.