GS1 celebrates the barcode’s 50th anniversary


GS1, the organization behind the revolutionary barcode, is marking 50 years of transforming industries with a renewed emphasis on next generation barcodes, the circular economy, blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT). With its history of transforming retail, healthcare, transport and logistics, and technical sectors, the company is paving the way for another significant leap in barcode evolution.

Since the invention of the barcode in 1973, GS1 has transformed the representation of data in visual form, leaving an indelible impact on almost every industry worldwide. Today, GS1 barcodes are present on over a billion retail products and are used in healthcare facilities globally. Partnerships with UAE government authorities such as the Federal Tax Authority, the Ministry of Health and Prevention, the Dubai Health Authority, and the Department of Health Abu Dhabi have strengthened GS1’s presence in the region.

Commenting on the milestone, Rami Habbal, CEO of GS1 UAE said, “Since entering the local market in 2000, GS1 UAE has helped thousands of companies benefit from our standards and solutions in streamlining their businesses in various industry sectors. The UAE is an international business hub and a global platform for business, from multinational giants to startups and new companies. It is a great place for GS1 to introduce the world to the new age of barcodes, 2D barcodes, the innovation that will create the next revolution in several industries.”

2D barcodes are set to change the way industries handle processes once more. They revolutionize barcode standards by offering unprecedented features such as links to additional online details, post-purchase interactions, and improved analytics and insights. These will enable customers to use their smartphones to connect directly with the brand and access all the necessary product information. 2D barcodes can detail a product’s journey from start to end, providing customers with information about the source and sustainability of a product. For example, consumers would have the ability to trace the journey of milk from its origin as raw milk from a cow to its arrival as a carton of milk on the supermarket shelf.

Habbal said this new level of transparency will assist consumers in making informed choices regarding their purchases and usage. “We are partnering with industry leaders to harness the power of 2D barcodes to not only meet but exceed the increasing demands of today’s world,” he added.

With a renewed focus on sustainability and future-proof technology, GS1 is committed to supporting the transformation of the linear economy (extract, produce, consume, throw away) towards a circular economy model, based on sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurnishing, and recycling existing materials and products for as long as possible. GS1 UAE is working with government authorities and businesses to ensure that more sustainable measures are adopted and implemented, like the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), and the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), which will be hosted in the UAE later this year.

As GS1 celebrates its 50th anniversary and looks towards the future, it remains dedicated to driving innovation and delivering value to businesses and consumers alike across all 116 countries. “Our journey has always been about transforming the world of business through the power of standards and innovation. Looking forward, we remain committed to empowering businesses with cutting-edge solutions that drive growth, enhance sustainability, and improve customer experience,” Habbal concluded.


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