Global adoption of the RSS bar code

Monday, 10 July, 2006

GS1, the organisation that locally administers the global multi-industry system of identification and communication, has announced a global sunrise date of January 2010 for all scanning systems to read reduced space symbology (RSS) bar codes on any trade item.

The RSS bar code includes more information into half the space of the standard EAN/UPC bar code currently used for retail point-of-sale (POS) scanning. RSS is already used internationally in the health, fresh produce and meat sectors; this announcement now extends that use so that all industries will be able to apply RSS bar code symbols to their products.

"The RSS is the first bar code to be endorsed by GS1 for global, open (unrestricted) trade item identification since the EAN/UPC bar code was adopted globally in the mid-1970s," says Maria Palazzolo, CEO, GS1 Australia.

The use of RSS bar codes is expected to open the door to identification solutions supporting product authentication, traceability and quality because they can carry GS1 application identifiers including serial numbers, lot numbers and expiration dates.

In addition, RSS is a simple solution for trading partners looking to access more advanced data but who are not ready for RFID. In this way, RSS provides an excellent migration path to electronic product coding for retailers who may want to move to RFID in the near future.

The adoption date sets the goal for all trade item bar code scanning systems to be capable of reading RSS bar codes and handling GS1 application identifiers by 2010.

There are currently no plans to discontinue the EAN/UPC bar code. Brand owners will have the freedom to move to RSS when redesigning packaging or designing new products for market.

"GS1 Australia will be representing the needs of Australian businesses as part of the GS1 RSS Global Task Force to develop specific implementation guides for retailers and FMCG manufacturers," Palazzolo said. "Initial feedback from brand owners and packaging designers on RSS bar code symbology is encouraging and we anticipate this new symbol will have a major impact on future packaging trends."

GS1 Australia is working with the fresh produce industry to implement the GS1 system and provide the industry with a greater competitive edge in local and export markets.

GS1 Australia's bar code verification service, which tested more than 90,000 bar codes last year, is already capable of verifying RSS bar codes against international guidelines and specifications.

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