Scott first wrote about this issue back on October 16th in a post entitled, “New York’s ‘No Scan Do’ Problem. In brief, it is about new drivers’ licenses in New York that carry a new non-GS1 compliant barcode
which includes the licensee’s age/birth date. The rub is, the new barcode can’t be read by existing retail scanners. Oops. This means retailers of alcohol and lottery tickets can’t use their scanners to automatically verify a person’s age. They actually have to look at the license. The licensee’s birth date is printed on the license.
But January 4th, out of Schenectady, the Daily Gazette provided an update. I wanted to highlight a couple of points in the update because if you’re in the IT business, and especially if you specialize in barcodes and scanners and such, you’ll find this familiar. It involves the famous ’Simple Software Upgrade,’ or SSU. An SSU is the most commonly expected fix (except among programmers who know there is nothing simple about software) to virtually every IT problem worldwide. Is it actually the most reliable solution? I think this excerpt from the news in New York says much about the common SSU:
Officials of the state Department of Motor Vehicles and Lottery Division had thought the problem would soon be solved with a simple software upgrade, but they’ve now discovered that it’s not likely to be fixed until all 16,000 Lottery machines are replaced in a year or so, Lottery spokesman John Charlson said.
And how much will that cost?
“It would cost several million dollars to replace the current barcode readers with new readers. In the current recession, we believe such an expenditure for the sole purpose of reading the next generation of driver’s licenses would not be in the best interest of the public,” Charlson said.
While this whole topic isn’t a GS1 compliance or GS1 label issue, it ties back to my post about why GS1 should recommend 2D, in my opinion.