Transformers – Scanners in Disguise?

Date November 19, 2012 Author Comments Leave your thoughts
Honeywell Captuvo SL22 Data Capture Solution

The Honeywell Captuvo SL22 – transforming the data capture and barcode scanning industry?

We are all acutely aware that the Apple Corporation are slowly but ever so surely taking over the world. There is no doubt in my mind that in the not too distant future, any fool still attempting to resist their highly desirable, shiny, sleek, functional and down-right beautiful creations will be banished to some far-off backwater where ‘technology’ is still constituted by ‘a hole in the ground’.

Now, the smart ones among you may have observed that I am a bit (OK, a lot) of an Apple ‘fan-boy’. I have by my own admission had countless heated discussions (fist-fights) with friends, family members and indeed various unsuspecting passers-by, over why I believe paying a premium for the latest Apple gadget is not only logical but also well worth the poverty which inevitably follows.

However, Apple’s products continue to make the migration from ‘consumer commodity’ to their adaptation as enterprise-level hardware –  this has been significant within the retail sector, as iPods and iPads are increasingly being used as barcode scanning devices – begging the question;  What might this mean for the scanning and mobile data capture industry?

There are an increasing number of products appearing on the market aimed at ‘ruggedizing’ the infamously fragile iPhones, iPods and iPads in order to accommodate their use on busy shop floors and in often-harsh stockroom environments. But, does this spell the end for purpose-built ‘rugged’ scanning devices, which have long been the obvious/only choice within the retail sector?


One of the scanning and mobility market’s leading manufacturers, Honeywell, have it seems realised the potential of an Apple hybrid product with the release of their Captuvo SL22 iPod sled (pictured). Admittedly, this is not the first of its kind and there are other similar options available on the market. However, with Honeywell’s position and track record as a manufacturer of high-spec and durable scanning devices, a slightly closer look at the product, and any wider implications for the future of the mobile scanning landscape, is surely warranted?

So what does it give you?

The Captuvo SL22 gives an iPod barcode scanning functionality, using Adaptus 6.0 imaging technology which allows the user to scan linear, 2D and even ‘compromised’ barcodes. This, as well as an optional secure MSR, for on-the-spot credit card transactions, makes the very neat unit ideal for pricing and product lookup, inventory management, scanning and shop floor, ‘queue busting’, customer checkout.

So what might this mean for the barcode scanning industry?

The scope for hybrid Apple scanning applications is undoubtedly vast, the units are easy to use, due in-part to the fact that many of us may as well have at least one, possibly two, permanently fused to our digits, saving a bundle of time and money on staff training. The ‘ruggedisation’ is fast, easy and effective (to an extent) and all this combined with the significantly reduced cost, when compared with other more traditional devices, could very well mark the end of an era…or not.

Sure, the sled renders the iPod far stronger than in its original casing, but in a busy working environment breakages could still be an issue. And,  if one considers that most rugged barcode scanning units come with a maintenance support contract, covering the user for (less likely) breakages, the comparatively low replacement costs of Apple kit may not equate to much of a saving in the longer term.

Security may also be another problematic area. As I so vigorously admonished at the beginning of this piece, the desirable nature of Apple products is a major factor in their success and one that, when combined with its many other uses, makes an iPod/iPad ‘scanner’ infinitely more ‘nickable’ than a humble rugged barcode scanning device.

So, will these developments change the scanning landscape outside of retail?

Of course, it is very difficult to say but what is certain is that, as it stands, Apple still make consumer targeted products and it is the innovation from within the scanning and mobility industry, how far they attempt to progress the adaptation and ‘ruggedisation’ of consumer targeted products, which will ultimately shape the future.

Gregg Meade

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