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To tame the brute of counterfeit, let’s summon the weapon of NFC, AI or blockchain
It is said the global counterfeit industry is a USD460 billion business. And unnecessary to say, China is often the epicenter of this lucrative yet illegal trade. But swings of technology have always been developing rapidly, hoping to bring the animal of ‘counterfeit” to its knees.
Several years ago, the technology about anti-counterfeit was more or less about NFC (Near Field Communication). NFC works by permitting two devices to communicate when they are in close range. It enables information to be exchanged inbetween two NFC chips – one contained in the NFC smartphone and the other in the item. With 1.9 smartphones expected to be NFC enabled by 2018, some companies have been exploring its value in authentication solution simply by integrating NFC tags into the products. Here come few examples we noticed.
In 2015, Cognac brand Rémy Martin launched an NFC-enabled bottle in China in partnership with company Selinko.
2016, Maria&Donato, a premium leather goods brand based in Spain, collaborated with company ThinFilm by inserting NFC tags into one of their handbag collections to battle knockoff. ThinFilm clients also include brand like iolive from the olive oil industry.
Then kicking off in 2015, a fresh fascination has been surrounding the blockchain technology to combat the fake&fraud. The decentralized principle of blockchain suggests a digital ID can be created for a product by a federated consensus, which is immutable to any kind of tampering. The solution can help the organizations to trace the identity of the product in real time, eliminating the possibility of fraud. We eyed London based startup Everledger applied the technology to the diamond registry. It has digitized more than a million diamonds and partnered with firms including Barclays. It is now expanding the product scope to other luxury categories, such as fine wine.
Another hotshot in the media is again a London based startup Provenance. It raised USD800K just in this month. Provenance aims at improving the retail and supply chain transparency. In two thousand sixteen Provenance ended a six-month trial tracking tuna fish caught in Indonesia by chronicling the product’s ownership and tracking product journey enshrined in the blockchain system.
Interestingly those blockchain anti-counterfeit startups are usually originated from London. We detected another one called Blockverify, also established in 2015. It uses blockchain to authenticate a broad range of high-value goods to simplify sales tracking and product verification.
In China, a noticeable company combining both NFC&blockchain technology is Vechain, a subsidiary of a Chinese company BitSE. It was launched in November 2016, an enterprise software designed to create, manage, maintain and update collective data about products in the supply chain. In two thousand sixteen Shanghai’s Style Week, VeChain teamed up with independent style label Babyghost to put style on the blockchain.
Coming in into 2017, Artificial Intelligence came onto the stage as well. In July, Fresh York based Entrupy, a hardware-enabled SaaS company with artificial intelligence-based technology for authenticating high-end luxury goods, announced that they have secured USD Two.6 million in series A funding. Launched in 2016, Entrupy‘s patented technology is claimed to be used by hundreds of secondary retailers and marketplaces to authenticate handbags and wallets from brands including Louis Vuitton , Chanel. See movie demo below for yourself.
Another interesting startup is Cypheme, which provides an AI powered system capable of recognizing the printed product’s packaging marker with a neural network, using only a cell phone camera. The Cypheme technology would permit a swift and effortless way, accessible to anyone, anywhere, to verify the authenticity of the products adopting the solution. It is presently in strategic partnership with a leading European packaging company AR Packaging.
In many ways, we see the sector of anti-counterfeit technology has buoyed up in latest years and consider it should have excellent potentials to grow.