The GS1 Sunrise 2027 initiative is adding 2D barcodes to retail consumer packaging. In some cases, 2D matrix barcodes, including Data Matrix and QR code, will replace the well-known 1D UPC and EAN barcodes. This will impact the OEMs of barcode scanners and point-of-sale equipment, retail stores, and consumer packaged goods companies.
The existing UPC and EAN barcode scanner install base will need to be updated, or replaced, to enable 2D barcode scanning. This is a fundamental change, as many of these devices use either laser or linear CMOS technology that cannot scan 2D codes. Data Matrix and QR codes can only be scanned by 2D imagers (cameras) that can see both dimensions of the barcode.
Adding 2D allows more data to be included in the barcode. GS1 sees huge advantages in inventory management if dynamic data such as dates, batch codes, and serial numbers can be stored in the codes. This would make stock rotation, price markdowns, and returns or recall processing far easier than they are today. Also, URLs could be included to guide store associates or consumers to additional data or marketing information.
Sunrise 2027 starts in 2023 with a dual marking phase where 2D codes can be added to the 1D barcodes. The UPC and EAN barcode scanner install base will continue to be used in this phase, but testing can begin to get ready for phase 2. The full implementation phase begins in 2027, and then some item packs will feature only 2D barcodes, and the full POS and back-end systems infrastructure needs to be ready.
Our White Paper has more information on this significant shift for barcodes in retail.