GS1 Digital Link: bridge between the internet and the physical world

This means that the GS1 codes are now a gateway to consumer information. Almost half a century after the historic first beep of the barcode, a new standard has now emerged that connects the physical world with the Internet: GS1 Digital Link. This standard extends the power and flexibility of the GS1 codes by making them part of the web. This gives brand manufacturers the flexibility to deliver different experiences to different parties with a single code on the product. From consumer information to information about traceability and APIs of business partners.

The power of one code: GS1 Digital Link

The world economy is driven by all kinds of goods flows. A lot happens in it: every item is made somewhere from materials, parts or ingredients that come from somewhere else. It is packaged, on pallets, shipped, distributed, ordered, sold and delivered. And ultimately thrown away, (partially) recycled or resold.

While consumers and governments are demanding more transparency about products, manufacturers are transforming to comply. By simply using the number from the GS1 code, it shows all kinds of product information better online. At any point in the process you can link data for each product at item level. Digitized data provides visibility, validation and real-time intelligence throughout the entire chain. Each product can be smartphone-interactive, trade with point-of-sale systems and connect to the internet – all with one code on the product.

Frits van den Bos, innovation manager GS1 Netherlands: “In the 30 years that I have been working at GS1, this is the real innovation. Some companies were already working on this idea with their own barcode, but this standard makes it possible for manufacturers, retailers and all those other parties in the chain to use the same barcode and share information via the internet in real-time with each other and the consumer. “

With a carefully structured URL you have the option to extend the GTIN with batch or item numbers

Carefully structured URLs

GS1 Digital Link converts the globally accepted identification codes into a web address. With the help of an adaptable ‘resolver’ (brand) manufacturers can send different scans of the same identification code to suitable final destinations. Van den Bos: “For example, a scan with a” warehouse application “will lead to completely different information than a scan with a” consumer application “. In addition, real-time adjustments can be made, which can be very useful in the event of a recall. With a carefully structured URL you have the option to extend the GTIN with batch or item numbers. This makes the article easier and better to understand, such as the harvest data for wine, the production batch for rail components, or a single product identifier for an artwork. To achieve the desired level of detail of product information, they can all be included in one standardized URL, which in turn can be added to the product using an appropriate data carrier, such as a 2D code (QR code or Data Matrix) or RFID tag. ‘


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