Have you ever wondered how the black and white stripes on the product in your hand could tell what that product is? Just having these stripes, we can know the name and the price of the product? Or do you remember that there were a lot of people being so excited about the ‘Easy Pass’ in Thailand? Because of that, we do not have to waste our time paying the toll fee. Just drive to the right spot, and for a few seconds, our money is gone. What are these things? What else do they have? How do they work? Today, we are sharing with you the stories that will make it so easy to understand! 😊
A can of Coke, a bag of snacks, a pack of eggs. I place the bright orange basket on the counter. The staff smile at me and pick the items up one by one. Then, she scans the item with red light with “Beep” sound three times.
“65 baht please, would you like to have some bread? It’s newly baked” – She tells me the price and introduces me to her new menu.
How did she know that these three items together cost 65 baht? The answer is she herself doesn’t know, but she can find it out from the Barcoded scanning system. It’s to identify the status of each item by scanning the laser at the white/black bar on the item. With the check of the level of light reflection, the reader will be able to translate the data to numbers, which are a special code for each item, correctly and quickly.
When “Beep” sounds, the reader gets the number “8 850653 192490”. The system then displays back on the screen which is “a pack of 4 eggs cost 33 baht”.
❓ Do you know that the same type of product in modern trade malls and convenience stores always have the same barcodes?
Same grade of eggs (4 eggs – grade A). Every pack will use the same code …8 850653 192490… Thus the staff has an assistant when a customer buys 10 items for the same product. She doesn’t have to scan 10 times, but once, type the number 10 in the system and let it calculate the price automatically.
QR Code 🙋♀️
I walked out of the convenience store with a handful of snacks. In a few steps, I turned myself and entered the new-brand coffee shop.
“Can I have sugar-free Americano please?” – I ordered what I have daily (from other shops).
Okay, do you have our shop membership? Register today you will get a 50% discount right away. Scan QR code right here – Barista welcomingly suggests as well as hands me the ads cardboard display.
I bring out my phone, turn on my camera mode and focus on the black/white square. In less than 1 second, it brings me to the membership registration website page with ease.
Since it’s some type of scan, why not using a general barcode, but a QR code? The answer is the data capacity. The limitation of barcode is it can work only with the numbers, but QR code is able to fill in letters. This means that when we decrypt the code from the black/white square, we will get the information that can be used right away. For example, website of the coffee shop, branch of the coffee shop I use the service, credit card promotion, map on google map, line ID and etc.
A case for myself getting to the landing page of the coffee shop via QR code by not typing the link of the website myself is the most convenient thing ever.
❓ Do you know that code has another name called 2D Barcode (2 Dimensional Barcode)?
While general barcode can only be read in a horizontal direction (only from left to right), QR code can be read in both horizontal and vertical directions. The advantage of it is that we can scan QR code in various directions, at the front, at the side, or even upside down.
RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) 🙋♀️
After strolling around and coming back for work, along with zipping the coffee, I suddenly realize that I have a lunch meetup with my long-lost friend this afternoon… On another side of Bangkok, I quickly pack up stuff into the bag and rush to my car.
“I won’t make it if not taking tollway…” – I tell myself boredly.
Whatever, but taking tollway during peak hours is a risk of getting into a traffic jam. Luckily, I don’t have to wait in line for paying the toll as I can always drive past the right lane.
Do I have to pay the toll? Yes, I do. How did I pay? Use an M-pass card… How did I use it? Use it with RFID technology.
The process is that if you take notice of the M-pass lane on the tollway, you will see the white box hanging down from the ceiling. It’s the box that sends out the radio signal wave within the RFID area. When the signal hits the M-pass card (or called M-pass tag) that is situated in front of the windshield, the card will send its ID number back to the box in order to enable the system to proceed with the data by verifying the status of the car, check the cash remaining in the card, cut out the money in the card, including command the barrier gate to open.
Every car that drives through the right lane doesn’t have to literally stop, but with the slowdown speed. The box and the card can work collaboratively from a far distance (from 5 to 20 metres) in order to lift up the barrier for the approaching car.
In this case, can’t we use a barcode or QR code? If answer technically, it can… But, in the end, what is the benefit if you have to be in line to scan the card? Since the code from both barcode and QR code cannot be read or scanned from a far distance. RFID, thus, is more advantageous at this point… by reading and identifying the status from the far distance.
❓ Do you know that the origin of RFID, indeed, was invented to solve the problems during WWII?
When the UK (Allies) wanted to examine the approaching aircraft to the base whether it was from their side or from the enemy, Germany (Axis). The radio signal transmitter installed in every aircraft would send the same frequency of signal wave back to the base… This is the way to identify an aircraft…
NFC (Near-field communication) 🙋♀️
“Sorry, I’m late…” – I’m gasping out at a restaurant where I meet up with friend. I’m 20 mins late….
“This meal is my treat” – I make amends by paying my friend dinner.
It’s a very delicious and savory Japanese meal with my buddy, even we rarely see each other.
“Let’s talk over a cup of coffee” – I pick up my bag and my phone.
“828 baht please” – the waiter tells the price (why it is so expensive – I’m thinking).
I bring out my mobile phone (instead of my wallet), scan my fingerprint, and tap the back of my phone on a strange looking reading device on cashier counter.
“Beep” – heavenly sound and 828 baht is cut out from my bank account.
Not cash, not a credit card, so what did I pay? NFC technology (Near-Field Communication), it’s a technology that helps two devices communicate through radio waves when they stay close to each other (not more than 5 cm.). NFC has been used in various ways, such as office/ residence access badges, the connection between mobile phone and a device like a speaker, as well as product/service payment.
In the second that my phone that has NFC chip places close to the NFC-accredited reader, these two devices will start exchanging the coded data in order to identify the status and make the payment quickly…. even quicklier than sliding the credit card or paying by cash.
❓ Do you know that in 2006 Nokia 6131 is the world’s first mobile phone that inserted NFC technology into the phone? (look at the feature, it’s hard to see how NFC can be used).
The actual application started when Google Nexus S had become the first version of the Android mobile phone that supports NFC…. 5 years later after Nokia
I tend to end the day shopping as I’m looking for a new shirt. I’m, no longer waiting, walking into my favorite shop.
“Beep” – I hear the sound from my phone. Oh, this is a welcome message from the shop.
I walk past the front zone to the center of the shop.
“Beep” – one more time. But this time is the description message of the item placed on the shelf in front of me. How does it know where I’m at inside the shop?
I’m looking for the shirt, which takes almost 5 mins.
“Beep” – again. This time is the buy-1-get-1-free offering for the shirts price up to 1,290 baht. Is staff watching over my buying behavior?
It can’t be. I’m just in the modern apparel shop. With BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) Technology, object tracking and object specification inside the building are not difficult to do.
In this case, the shop has installed the small gadget called “Beacon”, which its role is to send the data through Bluetooth Low Energy signal. And, because my mobile phone turns on Bluetooth, it can detect the signal from these beacons. The data then is brought to create interesting information.
For example, when I walk close to the front shop and my mobile can detect the “no.1” beacon ID signal, the system then sends me the welcome message. When I walk past the front zone and stop at the front of the shirt shelf, my mobile can detect the signal from the “no.2” beacon. The additional description message of the shirt then suddenly send to me
And because I stand at the same spot for so long that my phone can detect the signal from the “no.2” beacon several times, the system then sends me a buy-1-get-1-free promotion in order to convince me to make a buying decision quickly.
With the desire of getting free stuff, I thus bring 4 shirts back home happily. 🥰🥰
Alright, what do you think about the story? After reading this, does it help you to know and understand the technologies that use radio waves to identify the identity more easily? If you like this kind of article, please drop by often and we will make sure to provide more great articles from Mutrack! 🤗😁