UPC barcode made its debut 40 years ago today

& we make an entire plane journey without printing a code out

Is that UPC? QR? No, it's an Azrec barcode.

It’s amasing to think that it is only forty years ago [June 26, 1974], that the first barcode that we would now recognise made its debut. There was a Uniform Product Code (UPC) on the side of a 10-pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum. This was scanned by the Marsh Supermarket store in Troy, Ohio by cashier Sharon Buchanan for customer Clyde Dawson. The supermarket was employing at test system developed and installed by NCR (National Cash Register Company) but within two years UPC codes had become almost universal with stores in the USA. Just out of interest that pack of gum cost a mere 67 cents. Oh, and GoMo News made an entire trip to Barcelona without having to print out the barcode.

The Uniform Product Code was created for a specially formed grocery industry trade association known as the Uniform Grocery Product Code Council.

This organisation was working in conjunction with consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.

Together they picked a scheme developed by IBM and designed by George Laurer.

The barcoded package of gum is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, USA.

Today, of course, you don’t need a laser scanner to read a UPC code (or a variety of other 2D barcode formats such as the QR code).

You can install one of the many QR code scanning apps such as the Neoreader from NeoMedia.

However, GoMo News has just made the entire plane trip from London to Barcelona by displaying the barcoded ticket on our smartphone’s screen

All you need is the requisite app – which in our case was the BA [British Airways] app for Android. And don’t forget to keep the handset fully charged.

For eagled eyed GoMo News readers, the barcode on the plane ticket isn’t a UPC or QR code. Its an Aztec one.

About Tony Dennis

Tony is currently Editor of GoMobile News. He's a veteran telecoms journalist who has previously worked for major printed and online titles. Follow him on Twitter @GoMoTweet.
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