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Welcome to Understanding Data Capture.

What is Automatic Identification and Data Capture?

Automatic Identification and Data Capture (AIDC) is an automated means of capturing data that is used to help understand how items or things or people move through a process. The most well known form of AIDC are probably bar codes.

You will often hear Automatic Data Capture (ADC) or Automatic Identification Technologies (AIT) instead of AIDC but they all mean the same thing. The process and technologies that are used for the collection of data without the intervention of human beings.

We use AIDC because the automatic part of the technology allows us to capture the data without all of the errors that are usually associated with keyboarding. A study that was done some time ago showed that even a good typist can make as many as 1 error every 15 keystrokes. In today’s technological age, that kind or error may be OK in a letter or an essay where the spell checker will capture and correct most of those errors, but it is a major disaster where part numbers, or serial numbers are concerned.

So we encode the number In a bar code or an RFID tag or one of the other technologies which then eliminate the error side of the problem as we can capture the data almost error free and a much greater speed than typing would ever allow.

The range of technologies that are covered under this area include: bar code (both linear and 2D symbologies), magnetic stripe, RFID, biometrics, smart cards (both contact and contactless), Near Field Communications, and Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS).

Although these technologies are all different and have many reasons why you may want to use one and not another, they are all the same in one respect – they provide a means of data collection or data capture without the need for human intervention.

So why do we want this? Think about today’s business environment where we need to know what products are in stock, what is on the shelf, what is in the back room, what is in shipment etc. How do we keep track of these things? This is AIDC. This is the technology that lets us know with certainty where our stock is and what we need to get on reorder.

Of course it is more than the retail environment. Today everyone needs to know the details of their company’s assets in almost real time so that we do not have too much or too little inventory, so that we know when to order more, expect a delivery etc.

So which technology do we chose for which application? The first large uses of the technology were magnetic stripe and bar code technologies. Magnetic Stripe technology is still one of the largest applications in the world and has been in use since the 1960s. Every single credit and debit card has a magnetic stripe that can be read in a bank teller machine all over the world, Whether you need cash is Athens Greece or Zurich Switzerland, and ATM machine will read the stripe and access you account – giving you the money you need where ever you are – in the local currency.

This web site will attempt to provide the basic information on these technologies.

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