Transforming 2D Barcodes Into Communication Channels
(Part 2)

The first part of this article briefly covered the ‘why’, ‘when’ and ‘how’ barcodes were implemented. It also brought a perspective about different benefits and market forces pushing innovation forward with the usage of 2D barcodes, as well as the benefits of 2D over the 1D barcodes. If you still didn’t read the ‘Part 1’, we would recommend a quick reading on it (link here), before you continue below with the ‘Part 2’.

Understood… but what use cases should I focus on?

The use cases are typically not the starting point of a project, but the response for a comprehensive strategic analysis. The strategy itself is also a response, either for the market dynamics (e.g., regulatory requirements, industry trends) or the intention to create differentiation among industry competitors (e.g., competitive advantage).

After your organization has gone through these initial steps, it will be much easier to choose the use cases that will have a direct fit with bringing the business strategy into life.

Use cases related to 2D barcodes have evolved immensely over the last few years. In terms of their applicability, there are differences that need to be considered. The importance, or priority of each use case sometimes will be determined by the industry sector in which the brand owner belongs to.

The categories of use cases and even some of the actual examples in the picture below are leveraged out of the GS1 2D Pilot Toolkit (4), developed by the GS1 Global Office. This list of use cases doesn’t intend to be comprehensive, but just an initial step for brand owners to evaluate opportunities and to explore additional ideas.


The implementation of a 2D business strategy, supported by a robust tactical roadmap will need these building blocks to be successful:

Planning carefully the execution of each one of these building blocks will improve significantly the chances of success when deploying your 2D strategy.

2D barcodes can handle an unprecedented amount of trusted data that can benefit brand owners, regulators, trading partners and consumers. They offer much more than just supply chain automation and linkage to web content. A 2D barcode can also tell the story of a product, from its origins until it reaches the hands of the end consumer, as well as communicating how the product components can be properly disposed in a circular economy environment.

This mentality is totally disruptive. Over time it will bring brand owners and consumers to a whole new level of interaction and engagement. Are you getting ready for it?

1. Smithsonian Magazine – The History of the Bar Code:
2. Wikipedia – GS1:
3. GS1 – Celebrating 50 years of digitalisation in commerce – and focusing on the next50:
4. GS1 – GS1 2D Pilot Toolkit: – Barcodes as digital chalnnels