AIM Global Takes on Chinese Language Symbology Effort

Along with China's leadership in the manufacture of world goods has come the need to improve efficiencies in data collection and exchange. Existing bar codes are optimized for Western alphabets and are not optimized for encoding the Chinese language. To address this need, GM (Grid Matrix) Code, developed by the Shenzhen Syscan Technology Co., Ltd, has been accepted by AIM Global (Warrendale, Pa.) as the latest work item for development of an International Symbology Specification (ISS).

AIM Global, the industry trade association recognized as the worldwide authority on automatic identification and mobility solutions, uses a number of criteria in evaluating proposed technical work items. Among the criteria for accepting a symbology for AIM Global specification development are technical merit, cross-industry applicability, and features not offered by existing bar code symbologies. While GM Code has some similarity in structure to existing matrix symbologies, it has a very strong finder pattern that is not affected by edge damage to the symbol in addition to its Chinese language capabilities.

"Given the international nature of business it is outstanding to see new bar code developments from our members in China," said Dan Mullen, AIM Global president.

According to GM Code's developer, Dr. Xuchuan Fan of Syscan Technology, the finder pattern of GM Code is distributed over the entire symbol, so damage of any part of the symbol will not affect the correct decoding if the damage is within the error correction capability. In short, there is no 'Key Area' (the damage of which makes the symbol unreadable) in GM Code.

Now that the work item has been accepted by AIM Global, the Technical Symbology Committee (TSC) will regularly meet to craft a final symbology specification that printer and scanner/imager manufacturers can use to develop hardware and software to support wide applications of the symbology. The TSC is comprised of individuals from AIM Global member companies who are the world's leading experts on symbology design, as well as printing and decoding algorithms. Syscan Technology will actively work with the committee to ensure a complete technical specification is available to the market. Many symbologies published as AIM Global specifications have moved into the international community and ISO standardization.

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