AlpVision is launching a new way to verify the authenticity of products: the secured QR-Code. The QR Code or Quick Response Code is a machine-readable, two-dimensional barcode containing information on the item to which it is attached. It was first designed for the automotive industry in Japan in the early 1990’sI, but is now used more widely, both in commercial and non-commercial settings.
For example, the QR Code has been prevalent in consumer advertising, ticketing and labeling, allowing customers to immediately access digital information using a mobile reader application. More recently, the QR Code has been used to make contactless payments. With Apple Pay, for example, people can make secure purchases in stores, in apps and on the web. They can also send and receive money from friends and family. In most cases, no Internet connection is needed.
While the QR Code has been more widespread in Asia, it is starting to make inroads in European and North American markets. According to a recent article in The Economist, Apple recently upgraded the camera app in the latest version of its operating system to automatically recognize a QR Code, reaching hundreds of millions of users worldwide.II With Apple’s launch, the QR Code is likely to gain new industries and appear on a larger number of products, beyond advertising.
With the increased presence of QR Codes on products comes a greater risk of fake codes. So how can brand owners avoid the QR Code scam, while fighting counterfeit products? They might take a look at securing the QR Code itself.
AlpVision’s secured QR-Code, for example, offers brand manufacturers the many benefits of covert safety features, minus the cost or the need for specialized detection devices. It is developed with your existing manufacturing process in mind, requiring no changes in your operations, equipment or design.
So how does it work? The encrypted information is integrated in the digital file of the QR Code during the prepress process and printed using standard inks and varnishes. With no changes to the design, the secured QR-Code looks no different than its original, non-secured self. The encrypted data can then be detected using a standard smartphone equipped with a proprietary reader application. Non-intrusive and totally invisible, AlpVision’s secured QR-Code is therefore highly effective against scams and counterfeited products.
From a consumers’ perspective, the proprietary app can be downloaded using a QR Code reader, now often readily available on smartphones and in popular apps, like Snapchat, WeChat or WhatsApp. The secured QR-Code is also very tolerant to orientation, distance and lighting, making it very user friendly. Finally, because QR Codes have gained substantial popularity over the years, the secured QR-Code should not require any marketing campaign for consumer education.