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Types of Data Collection Systems

Bar code data-collection systems fall into three basic types: interactive, batch, and hybrid.

Interactive Systems

Interactive systems have several advantages over batch systems. Almost all systems where bar code hardware is in a fixed location are interactive systems. Advantages include:

Batch Systems

Batch systems are generally used with portable readers. They are also used in some fixed-mount systems where the reader must continue to collect data if the computer system goes down. While interactive systems are superior in the ways listed above, batch systems do have some advantages:

Hybrid Systems

Several systems combine attributes of both interactive and batch modes. The most common are radio frequency systems and batch/interactive hybrids.

Radio frequency systems use RF signals to connect portable readers to a central computer in an interactive manner. This gives the advantages of an interactive system combined with portability. There are different types of RF:

Batch/interactive hybrids use local batch processing combined with an interactive link to a central computer. These work primarily as interactive systems, but they can function independently for a period of time if the central computer fails. These systems are best used for mission-critical applications where data collection is essential.

While most batch systems simply upload data to a central computer, dual mode batch systems can also download data from the computer to the batch system and use it for data verification and other uses. These are not quite so good as real-time interactive systems, but they are better than straight batch systems.

Multiple interactive systems connect more than one interactive system to a network. This way, if one computer fails, another can still manage critical parts of the system.

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