Barcode/QR support in Mobile app(s)


#1

I would like the ability to have a barcode scanner embedded in the mobile app, which would allow for automated data entry (for my use case, computer and electronic equipment serial numbers) This would be useful for other applications as well, including shopping lists, inventory, and coupon management.

In addition to the above request, the ability to generate QR codes from record data would add simplicity to data entry. Thanks!


Node Diagram To Help with Visualization
#2

@Howie @Kasra, any thoughts on this feature request? Thanks!


#3

Hey Evan,

Barcode scanning is something we’re thinking about, and we definitely see how it can be useful.

As for QR codes, would you just want a randomly generated QR code for each record, similar to how the Autonumber field works?

Thanks for sharing your use case!

Kasra


#4

For our use, it would be invaluable. We are using airtable for asset management, and it would speed up the process tremendously. As for QR codes, (also my use case) we also do Preventive Maintenance, and once it is complete, we scan this QR code, and it would mark it as complete. It would be linked to a certain record, and update the note field to say: “on 10/9/15 “Username” was here and did PM”


#5

Just want to add that this would be an amazing feature. Yes, the ability to generate a unique ID QR code and print it out with a label maker then scan it in to relate it to an inventory item would be gold. bar code would be fine too.


#6

Hi JP – thanks for the suggestion. For tracking inventory do you currently print your own QR codes or barcodes? Or something else, such as pre-printed barcode stickers?


#7

In our use case we run a coworking facility. We currently don’t track our inventory. We’re looking at airtable as a possible solution. So it’s probably less traditional inventory - which would typically come with bar code (like if I’m selling stuff) and more furniture (chairs), monitors, cables, etc. that we make available for our members to use.


#8

Gotcha, thanks for the info about your use case!


#9

Hi @Evan_Smith and @JP_Maxwell, we recently added a barcode field type to Airtable; it should work well for both asset management and inventory tracking (although it cannot generate QR codes).

This blog post outlines how we use barcodes internally for tracking company assets: http://blog.airtable.com/post/135723460962/using-barcodes-for-asset-tracking

I’d be curious to know how the barcode field works for your use cases and workflows, since I’m the iPhone developer for the feature – please reply back if you have any questions/comments/feedback!


#10

Hi Doug!

I have been very happy with this added feature, but I do have some feedback to increase overall satisfaction with it.

  1. Allow the flash to be used in order to capture barcodes in dark areas.

    • In my use-case a lot of our assets are in dark, dank places and this would help immensely.
  2. Allow a picture from the phone to be used in conjunction with this field type.

    • This would negate the first list item as well, since flash and auto focus can be used easily.

3.Have a “guide” on the screen that would aid with lining up the barcode, in similar barcode apps a simple line across the camera screen helps.

Besides those few things, you sure have saved us some typing. Thanks for all your hard work.


#11

Thanks @Evan_Smith for the detailed and thoughtful feedback. We’ll give items #1 and #3 strong consideration for an upcoming release for the iPhone app – I’ll keep you posted.

Suggestion #2 is a really interesting idea, and is a bigger feature since it would require changing behavior on the web site as well as the iPhone app – however, it isn’t something we’re planning to tackle right now.


#12

Hi @Evan_Smith, thanks again for your feedback. We’ve implemented a couple of your suggestions in the latest app update (3.1.0) which went live yesterday. It’s now possible to toggle a device’s flash on and off when scanning a barcode. Also, the green scanning guide is now closer to the center, to help line up a barcode in the middle of the scanning area.


#13

Wonderful functionality. One question… is the camera button missing from the search bar in the iPad app? Or am I missing something obvious? I don’t have an iPhone (waiting on that Android beta :wink:) but we do have an iPad in our house. I’d love to be able to search on barcode values in a base, using the barcode scan functionality.

Reading barcodes for data entry is no problem with the iPad.


#14

Hi @Mike_Eovino, it’s possible to search a table by scanning a barcode. The camera icon will be displayed only for tables that contain a barcode field, and it looks like this:

If that’s not working for you, please let us know.

If you’re interested in getting a sneak peak of the Android app, please fill out this form (if you haven’t already) https://airtable.com/shrLK2dGvhx46S6bU and we’ll include you in the next round of beta invites!


#15

Thanks, @Douglas_Forster, that makes sense. My barcode column isn’t in my main table, it’s in a linked table. I added my barcode column into the my main table with a lookup column, and now I can use the barcode search against my main table. That’s pretty sweet.

I did notice that if I hide the barcode column, I get the camera icon, but the search yields no results.

And thanks for the link; I just signed up for the beta.


#16

Hi @Mike_Eovino! When searching for a record, the search term (or barcode search) will match only on visible fields. We’ll probably keep the barcode icon around in that scenario, but I can understand how it might be unexpected that scanning a barcode did not match any records.


#17

Hello Evan,

I am trying to build a base to to fulfill several needs, including maintenance records. Is it possible for you to share some of your base or lessons learned when creating your base?

I do maintenance on 2 buildings, and production equipment. My hope is to have a database that can log maintenance records on equipment. As well as be a singular source for much of my scatted information, like repair part numbers, vendors, repair part lists, manufacturer info, supplier info, and more. Essentially the database will replace a rolodex, stack of business cards, filing cabinet of equipment manuals (which are available as pdfs) and a notebook of maintenance notes, as well as multiple excel files.

Eventually I want to be able to hand off a database to the next guy when I leave this job. Instead of when I walked into the job and was given 1 paper typed in all caps on front and back. I was working on an Access database but the learning curve for the forms and reports etc just seemed painful for someone that never used Access. Stumbling upon Airtable via a twitter ad has rejuvenated my hopes and efforts for creating my database.

Any help you can give would be very much appreciated Evan!!


#18

Jason,

Can you post some more info on the kind of info you’d like to track?

You may be able to start out with the Asset Tracker database in the gallery and expand out from that. The Asset Tracker looks pretty good, although I’d create another table to define the kinds of items I have in the inventory. I wouldn’t want to type in Macbook Pro 17" Retina more than once, and I might want to store some information that’s common to all of my Macbook Pro 17" Retinas in a single location (like part number, etc.).

I’m pretty sure Airtable can do what you’re looking to do.

We may want to ask Airtable for another category where people can ask for DB design help. This is a phenomenal tool; I’ve been able to create several bases that I use on a regular basis (pun unintentional) in a matter of hours. But I’ve been developing for the last 20+ years, and an understanding of relational databases definitely helps with this.

Good luck!
Mike E.


#19

Thanks Mike for writing me. I will try to type something up that might better convey what I want to create and track.

While I do that, do you know if I can simply share my base that I have created so far? It may prove useful at conveying my intentions. And/or I could send the Access DB your way? I created many of the tables and relationships, but never finished the other side of it, because the learning curve on the form/report side of things was too brutal.

FYI, up until this point I have used Trello and Excel as the solution to try and fulfill my needs but they just don’t do what I want.


#20

The records I want to keep include:

Assets: Production Equipment (over 50 pcs 5 main types), HVAC equipment (25pcs), Emergency Lighting Equipment (30pcs 3 types), Fire Extinguishers (20pcs), and more

Parts and Supplies: example: 20 parts used for Prod. Equip. repairs across 5 suppliers with differeing costs.

Manufacturers: Info for Purchase Order forms, Manuf. Tech dept Contact info, Manuf Sales contact info for sending units in or ordering parts (this has overlap with supplier table I will need to resolve)

Suppliers: The suppliers for the parts and their contact info.

Cost: Latest prices for parts available from more than one supplier.

Maintenance Records: Any monthly, annual, or scheduled maintenance, as well as repairs and ongoing status updates regarding equipment.

Location: To help differentiate simple assets like emergency lighting, or fire extinguishers, but also for seperating records for futrue proofing, we have 2 building and may consolidate, as well as move some departmentss/ equipment. Location can also be used for inventory, to say these bulbs are stored in this storage area, and those toilet repair parts are stored in a different storage area.

Ideally I want to also record:

Asset to Asset Assignment: Production equipment has interchangeability, so printers can be swapped from this autmoated duplicator to that one, or into my shop for repairs, then put back onto a different automated duplicator then it was removed from.

Inventory: Inventory of parts and suppliers on hand, like filters, belts, as well as specific repair parts for production equipment.

Repair or user Manual/materials: Some sort of location guidance to pdf files, or physical folders in file cabinet, etc
Service Companies: Contact info for service companies HVAC, plumbers, etc. Possibly with records of what they did, and on what PO.