Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) is a term used to group the various technologies employed to automatically identifying items, collecting data about them and the ability to enter that data electronically into computer systems. In other words, it is the term used to describe the direct entry of data into a computer system, programmable logic controller (PLC) or other microprocessor-controlled device without using a keyboard. Among these technologies are barcodes, Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), biometrics, magnetic strips, Optical Character Recognition (OCR), smart cards, and voice recognition. In the case of barcodes, it works in the following manner:
The information (data) is encoded in a barcode format, which is then printed on a package. The barcode on the package is read by a scanner and decoded. The data is then transmitted to a computer which processes the data and stores it as information (data).
As such there are certain basic questions that have to be answered:
- How will the INFORMATION be expressed?;
- How will the DATA be transmitted? ; and
- How will the DATA be read and checked?
In order to address these issues there is a need for voluntary agreements (standards) among the users. These standards may be industrial, national or global. In todays world of commerce and trade, where boundaries – industrial or national – no longer exist, standards have to be global. Among the many global standards, which conform to the ISO AIDC standards approved by ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 31, is the GS1 System of Barcodes, which is used by more than a million companies doing business in more than 156 countries.