Free vs. Paid vs. Enterprise-Grade Apps
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Free vs. Paid vs. Enterprise-Grade Apps

One of These Things is Not Like the Others

The advent of smartphones revolutionized our modern economy. Their smaller size means they travel location to location and take up less space than a laptop or a desktop. These advantages make them highly desirable for a number of different industries. However, these modern miracles have drawbacks as well. They get broken or damaged easily if dropped; they don’t have as much memory as a desktop or laptop (though that is changing), and several functions don't work well compared to traditional computers and software.

Of the many functions that smartphones excel at, barcode scanning tops the list. The built-in camera can capture barcodes, and with the proper software installed or app downloaded, can interpret the barcode and reveal the data within. Because of this advanced capability, industries ranging from retail to warehousing, to healthcare have turned to smartphones as an option for their scanning needs.

Downfalls and Limitations


Unfortunately, most barcode scanning apps struggle with truly enterprise-grade scanning requirements.  Many scanning apps do nothing more than reading QR codes in marketing campaigns. The novelty of scanning a code with your cell phone and being directed to a website ruled advertising for a time. While the QR code still exists and maintains its popularity, the algorithms used in the app software fail to handle anything more complex.

Algorithms power effective barcode scanning, whether in a smartphone or a scanning device specifically designed for that purpose. Algorithms, the heart of the scanning software, truly determine the effectiveness of a device used for scanning. The software that powers the device determines successful scanning workflows. Algorithms make up the mathematical instructions that direct electronic devices to follow certain commands and perform functions. Every app available to download contains a set of instructions for your phone or computer to follow. They allow your cellphone to work as a camera, a video recorder, a television screen, or just a phone.

You Get What You Pay For


Apps available for free download have been somewhat successful, but they also suffer from some significant flaws. Most of the free apps are created for very basic scanning needs such as price comparison, limited product identification, or asset location. For these low-demand needs, a free app may be all an individual or company needs. The free "price" appears good; however, the old adage “You get what you pay for,” applies here. With more than 40 types of barcode symbology, it’s unlikely that a software developer creating free downloadable apps knows all of them. Given that new symbologies appear regularly, a free app programmer probably can't keep up with the ever-changing codes.

Highly specific barcode scanning needs require even greater assurance that the software performs as needed. In hospital settings, lives depend on the speed and accuracy of barcode scanning. The algorithms must instantly read and interpret the barcode, even if it appears on a shiny surface or among other barcodes. No free, downloadable app can guarantee “first time, every time” accuracy.

Who Knows Best

Soft-Scanning Mobile App Icon - Black 180 x 182 (Sales)

When it comes to barcode scanning on an enterprise scale, look for apps designed by companies whose primary business is barcode scanning. Companies like Code® produce barcode scanning software that can read all the symbologies currently in use. Our computer scientists are among the best in the world at creating algorithms that capture exactly the data you need. They can optimize the information according to whether you’re using a smartphone, tablet, or barcode scanning device. They can also include programming that helps your device scan in low or bright light, from odd angles, at greater distances, on reflective surfaces, and even read damaged or smudged barcodes.

Many free apps perform well within limited parameters. If your company's scanning demands are narrow, this could meet your needs. However, if your company needs more than just one or two barcodes read, or if you need performance that expands your capabilities, Code offers a number of consumer apps and enterprise apps for consumer devices.  We can help you determine what your needs are and show you how we can best meet them.

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Contact us today to learn more about the options available to improve your unique circumstances. Call us at: 801-495-2200, or visit to see all the options available to you.

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