Companies have many options when it comes to product authentication technology, yet some haven’t picked a solution – or even decided on an anti-counterfeit strategy at all.
Every day, counterfeiters adjust their tactics and techniques to circumvent countermeasures, so we’ll outline the basics of the different product authentication solutions you can deploy and how our software compares to the standard safeguards currently available.
What is product authentication technology?
At a simple level, product authentication software and hardware verifies whether or not a product is genuine or fraudulent. Overall, the goal of these systems is to make it much harder, if not entirely impossible, for counterfeiters to ply their trade. When faulty or defective products reach consumers, the damage to a brand’s credibility can be devastating. Brands essentially needed a way to fight back from a persistent adversary who’s actively trying to stay one step ahead of anti-counterfeit protection.
As an alternative to managing a damaged reputation after the fact, product authentication comes into play well before products reach the global market, which makes counterfeits much easier to detect and trace. Counterfeiters spare no expense, nor do they waste any time trying to profit from a business’s brand power, so implementing new IT is a way to keep fraudulent items out of customers’ hands. The downside is that many don’t work nearly as well as they once did, but we’ll touch upon them briefly before moving on to the latest technologies we provide.
Top synonyms for product authentication technology
There’s no easy answer to why many brands haven’t fully vetted anti-counterfeit technologies because there certainly isn’t a shortage of options on the market, especially for large enterprises with a global supply chain and the IT infrastructure to accommodate such software. We believe that part of the problem may be that companies aren’t familiar with the basic terms used for product authentication technologies, which may include the following:
- Anti-fraud detection
- Physical brand protection
- Anti-counterfeit packaging
- Brand protection
- Brand verification
- Security labels
All of these names refer to product authentication solutions in some form; the difference between them usually boils down to proprietary systems, which may or may not require additional hardware. It all depends on what the specific countermeasures actually entail, such as whether or not they will be visible to the naked eye or rely on the internet like QR codes.
What are the benefits of deploying this type of protection?
There’s little doubt that counterfeiting costs companies billions of dollars every year, and the truth is that companies have to develop a concrete strategy to stay ahead of sophisticated con artists. Otherwise, ad-hoc safeguards won’t suffice to prevent counterfeiting. No matter what, any anti-counterfeit measures should ideally detect fake items or components before people buy them.
What are the potential impacts for brands and consumers?
When it comes to counterfeiting, the impact on brands can be expensive and long-lasting in a worst-case scenario. You may need to initiate a full global recall of an item if the problem is widespread and if there is a risk of harm. Even if you plan ahead, the cost of such a recall is too expensive, so many businesses choose to invest in product authentication upfront to minimize the risk down the line.
From a consumer’s perspective, the best-case scenario is feeling angry at paying full price for fake products; at worst, fraudulent items can be life-threatening, such as when people use counterfeit medications. While it may not be the company’s fault, customers may presume that a brand doesn’t value their business and move on to a competitor. No ethical company intentionally makes counterfeit products and sells them, but that’s what the public may think if you have no countermeasures like product authentication tools to catch fakes.
As you might expect, product authentication tools come in many forms. These software solutions give companies a way to develop a viable, holistic anti-counterfeit strategy at a high level. Without the right tools and platforms in place, any product authentication measures will be minimally effective at best.
Still, the most basic authentication systems should ideally give you the ability to authenticate, trace, and track products anywhere in the world, so many of the top tools are digital and rely on powerful software to spot inconsistencies that may indicate counterfeiting.
Examples of product authentication technologies
Without a doubt, many anti-counterfeit technologies are available to those who value the investment. The real difficulty is choosing the right solution for your needs, which may entail a more complex, intricate platform than you originally thought. Global supply chains have only gotten longer over the last decade, so any anti-counterfeit tech has to account for this dynamic.
Whether it’s a defective or faulty component or a full-blown fake product, the system you ultimately select needs to be able to accomplish both: keep counterfeit parts out of the supply chain and away from store shelves too. Some common names for product authentication include:
- Digital watermarks
- Die-cut special shapes for products and packaging
- Fluorescent taggants
- Holograms stickers and glue
- Guilloche printing
- Holographic foils
- Microprinting and micro text
- Optical variable devices (OVD)
- Optical variable ink (OVI)
- Product fingerprints
- Secured QR code authentication
- Raman spectroscopy
- Radiofrequency identification (RFID)
- Security threading
- Thermo-chromatic ink
- Physical watermarks
As you can see, you have plenty of products from which to choose, so what should you look for when vetting the different technologies available?
At a minimum, the best product authentication platforms offer features, such as:
- Physical or digital safeguards
- Low cost and complexity of the deployment
- Low risk
Indeed, our technologies at AlpVision meet all of those essential requirements.
Introducing product authentication technology from AlpVision
When consumers can’t trust that your business sells genuine products, the risk is that your brand power will take a severe blow. Always remember that counterfeiters and fraudsters are actively pursuing new tactics and techniques, such as forging the verification measures themselves instead of the actual item. Another trick currently in vogue is assembling fake products after components arrive at their destination rather than ship complete forgeries.
But we also have to point out that criminals try other angles, too, so to defend against counterfeiting, we developed a suite of anti-counterfeit measures that provides a complete defense. Other product-level safeguards still rely on easily faked – or downright ineffective – methods. Using QR codes for verification is only as good as the customers want them to be. People have to actually follow the code to verify that what they just purchased is real and safe to use.
Cryptoglyph – Packaging and Label Protection
Cryptoglyph – AlpVision’s digital anti-counterfeiting solution – works best for large volume packaging and labeling protection. The concept is to insert thousands of microscopic holes in the varnish layer of certificates, labels, and packaging. This strategy makes it significantly harder for counterfeiters because none of the holes are visible to the naked eye.
When integrated properly by a team of experts, Cryptoglyph can readily scale up and keep deployment and implementation costs down. Furthermore, using Cryptoglyph in concert with AlpVision Fingerprint gives you an additional layer of defense to stymie criminals until they give up and move on to a product they can easily fake instead.
AlpVision Fingerprint – Physical Products Protection
Along those lines, AlpVision Fingerprint identifies fake items at the product level, which used to be rather challenging for companies with a limited IT footprint, but now companies have more options. AlpVision Fingerprint identifies the microscopic, intrinsic defects in the molds for plastic components, cross-referencing that information to find out whether or not the same natural flaws exist. If not, the tech flags the product as inauthentic.
But when you add both defenses together, Cryptoglyph and AlpVision Fingerprint solidify countermeasures and make it significantly more challenging for criminals to ply their illegal trade.
So, are you curious about how our anti-counterfeit solutions can work for you? Our experts are standing by to assist you if that’s the case.
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