What is a mobile scanner/ Portable data collection scanner?

Portable data collection terminals have been designed to collect and transfer information electronically where previously it would have been done by hand, using paper and pen, or requiring the movement of the goods to the point where the information is required.
The most common portable data terminals devices in use today have built in barcode scanners. These can either be linked to a remote computer by radio (RF) or can store the data internally so that it can be transferred easily and accurately to a computer later (batch).

Example Application

A common application for portable data collection is stocktaking.
Previously (and still too frequently), a sheet of paper is carried around a store or stockroom and the item numbers or description of each item, together with the quantity in stock, is written down. This information is then keyed into a computer later. This process is slow and allows for errors at the point when the number is written down, and again when it is keyed in at the computer.
If all products are barcoded, then with a PDC terminal each item can be simply and accurately scanned, a quantity entered if required, and the data quickly downloaded to a computer for automatic entry into a database or spreadsheet, printing or e-mailing. A PDC terminal can also be loaded with data before a stocktake, such as a list of the items on the main stock file and their details, therefore giving the user instant feedback on discrepancies in quantities, price checks etc.


Most products today are barcoded by the manufacturer but if they are not, they can easily be labeled with barcodes printed on standard printers or specialised barcode label printers.

A variety of barcode standards exist but the major ones can be read by most PDC terminals. The data held in a barcode may be numeric or alphanumeric. It is even possible to barcode the items description. This will allow a PDC system to be introduced in most cases without the need to change the existing numbering system.



Applications for the PDC are varied and by no means all included in this list.


PDC can be used in any environment where a large number of items need to be tracked, such as:

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