Data Capture Made Easy – With SM Keyboard and SocketCam

September 9, 2022 by Dave Holmes | PRODUCT TECH UPDATES


Smartphones have the potential to revolutionize data capture workflow across the industry spectrum. A mobile phone is a portable, always-connected tool capable of scanning 1D and 2D codes with ease. The software side, however, isn't so welcoming, and if your current capture flow doesn't include support for mobile scanning, adding it in can take considerable time.

Or rather, it used to.

Socket Mobile's new SM Keyboard application is designed to make it simple - even if your current software doesn't support barcode scanning or on-device mobile capture.

On-device applications like Microsoft Word or Excel and browser-based progressive web apps (PWAs) are a common way for individuals and startups to capture data on the go, but they lack integrated barcode scanning capabilities. SM Keyboard adds in that missing functionality, and it does so without the user needing to worry about the software that's receiving the captured data.

At its simplest, the SM Keyboard is a fully functional software keyboard that replaces the stock or other third-party keyboards on your device and provides all the functionality you would expect. Yet, there's more to it than meets the eye. SM Keyboard is an integrated data-capture system capable of interfacing with our barcode scanning devices, including the SocketCam C820 (our software-based solution for turning any smartphone's camera into a high-accuracy and fast barcode scanner.)

Seamless Data Entry Into Any Software

Because SM Keyboard runs as a system input device, it works with any software that accepts text input, whether it includes integrated scanning capabilities or not. To begin the data capture process, just place the text-entry cursor into any field and tap SM Keyboard's dedicated "Scan" button. If you don't have one of our high-performance wireless hardware scanners connected to your phone, SM Keyboard will automatically fall back to the free SocketCam C820 software solution and open your device's camera.

Once a barcode is scanned, the captured data is automatically entered into your software's field. If you have more data to capture, just hit the "Scan" button again.

The SM Keyboard data capture system quickly scans a wide variety of 1D and 2D barcodes in most lighting conditions. If you can see the barcode, so can SM Keyboard.

Free is a Hard Price to Beat

What could be SM Keyboard's best feature isn't technical but fiscal: Alongside SocketCam C820, SM Keyboard is free. You can download and install the app on all your mobile devices and use it for commercial data capture operations. Barcode-based data capture is faster and less error-prone than manual data entry, which substantially benefits your business. It's perfect for scanning experimentation and won't cost you a penny, which makes it an excellent tool for startups looking to avoid a large initial investment in hardware scanners.

SM Keyboard is compatible with our mobile-connected hardware scanner families, as well, for when you need the ultimate scanning performance. If you need to scan less-common barcode types, need even faster scanning times, operate in extremely low-light conditions, or need to support radio-frequency identification (RFID) or near-field communication (NFC) tags, you can easily upgrade to a more robust physical reader.

Try it today!

Try SM Keyboard (available now from Apple's App Store) and its integrated SocketCam C820 for yourself. Once downloaded, follow our step-by-step instructions to set the SM Keyboard as your default keyboard. Then experiment with scanning barcodes into the app of your choice.

We will soon release an advanced version of SocketCam with additional features available on a subscription basis. Of course, you can always seamlessly upgrade to a more robust physical scanner.

We're confident you'll find SM Keyboard the most seamless way of integrating barcode-based data capture into your mobile workflow, regardless of the software you use.