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The humble barcode celebrates its 40th birthday

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barcode40The humble barcode, used more than six billion times a day around the world for shopping, tracking and sharing, is celebrating its 40th birthday.

When industry leaders selected a single standard for product information in 1973, the barcode was born.

Less than a year later on June 26, 1974, a pack of Wrigley’s gum became the first product to be scanned with what was officially known as the GS1 Barcode.

It now enables more than two million companies to capture and share information about products, documents, assets, shipments and much more.

Today there are more than five billion products scanned everyday in all parts of the world.

“GS1 has played a major role in shaping the landscape of the global market during the last 40 years because the organisation’s visionary leaders saw the huge potential of collaboration in the area of standards that the barcode made possible for the entire supply chain,” said Maria Palazzolo, CEO GS1 Australia.

Today there are several uses for the GS1 barcode including tracking products and inventory as they are shipped from place to place to provide an easy traceability.

In healthcare, barcodes are used to bring together hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers to reduce the number of medication and medical errors for patients.

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