This had remained a wish for the longest time, but this morning the latest newsletter from A2B Tracking arrived in my inbox.
First off, I must admit that I delete most newsletters I get, who has time to read all that stuff? The A2B ones usually contain some good info though, so I didn’t reach for the delete key and I’m glad I didn’t.
The A2B folks have come up with a nifty little app for iPhone (and Android) that allows you so scan a UID Datamatrix code and validate the data.
I headed over to the App Store and downloaded my copy.
The app is simple to use, the only setting is that you need to give an email address to activate the app. Simply press the Scan UID button and scan the Datamatrix code, just as you would on any smartphone barcode app. Wait a couple of seconds while the validation takes place (I suspect this is done on A2B’s server, rather than locally on the phone, and you’ll get the results.
I scanned two UIDs and made a mistake in one (I put a space character in the serial number) to see if the app would catch it. Here’re my results:
As you can see, it works fine. The scan for the good UID shows me the embedded IUII and some data as to the how the code is constructed. The one with the space character shows the raw data and points out that the code is invalid. Scroll down a little and I’m shown which data field had failed.
So does this mean that there is no need to buy one of those expensive UID Verifiers? Unfortunately not. MIL-STD-130 specifically states that UID labels need to be verified, not just validated. The verification includes a lot of quality checks as well as making sure that the structure of the code is correct.
Where I see this app being really useful, is when designing a new UID label in BarTender or other label software. Just scan a print preview, right on the screen and make sure you are starting with a properly structured UID barcode before even having to print a label.
As a bonus, the UID app will query the UID registry and let you know the current status of the UID you scanned. Takes a while for this – about 10 minutes in my test – and the results are to be found in the notification screen (on the iPhone at least). For my examples, the result is that the items were not registered, which is correct.
Thanks, A2B Tracking, this is cool!
If you are a DoD contractor and need to produce UID labels, we’d love to help you. Here at ID Technology, we’ve worked with hundreds of DoD contractors – from the biggest to some of the smallest. We can make MIL-STD-130 and MIL-STD-129 easy for you.
Give me a call at 603-845-9375 to get started.
Quick Update: it seems that the A2B app is currently not available in the Apple App Store and the version I have on my phone crashes with the latest version of iOS. According to the A2B website, a new version will be coming along soon. If you need something in the meantime, do a search for Cognex Barcode Scanners. Not as good as A2B (at least for IUID), but it can parse the MIL-STD-130 codes.
Another Update (6/20/2017): there was never an update for iOS, so I’d say this app is sadly dead. The Cognex Barcode App in the App Store has been refined a lot and is probably the best barcode app around. Use it to validate MIL-STD-130, GS1, HIBCC and others.