Authentication With RFID
One RFID application that is being used in a wide range of industries with great success is product authentication. Because of the extent of fake, counterfeit, and black market items, companies are using RFID tags to guarantee authentic products that buyers can trust.
Mostly accomplished with shorter range frequencies like HF and NFC, product authentication with RFID can be seen in large B2B companies like pharmaceutical companies as well as small B2C companies like antiques dealers. Because there is such a wide range of companies using RFID for product authentication, there isn’t one specific way to implement it. Most companies choose to place unique, NFC tags on a product’s packaging that allow inspectors, retailers, and even consumers to tap the tag and verify that the product is authentic.
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Why Use Product Authentication Methods?
Using methods like RFID, and NFC in particular, for guaranteeing product authenticity is typically a response to a business facing issues with counterfeit and fraudulent products on the market. Unfortunately, it is not always immediately evident if a business is being directly affected by counterfeit products. Below are some key signs to look for when determining if counterfeit products are entering the market.
- Decline in brand reputation
- Losing key customers/sales
- Direct knockoffs advertised online
If your business currently isn’t directly affected by counterfeit products, there could still be a need for NFC product authentication. Some businesses use NFC authentication to build brand trust and reduce any consumer skepticism of a new product or line of products. Usually this is accomplished by using NFC tags to verify the authenticity of:
- Parts within a product (i.e. a certain brand of microprocessor in a computer)
- A certification or service completed on a product or product-part (i.e. Quality certifications)
- A unique source location (i.e. authentically sourced ingredient from a specific landmark , country, or coordinates)
How do Businesses Get Started Using Product Authentication?
Similar to all RFID applications, the best way to start is to determine if your application is feasible from both the application side and the cost side. If product authentication with RFID is definitely the way to solve your business problem, then it is important to decide how your solution would be set up from a software perspective so that it can be successful.
Software, or some sort of custom code, is used in product authentication applications in order to connect the information stored on the NFC tag to the database of authentic product codes. While NFC tags can easily facilitate the opening of most URLs upon tag read, what is really important is determining how that URL will authenticate the product. Here are a few common options for the software side of NFC-enabled product authentication:
1. Use an Existing Software Solution - using a pre-existing software solution for this part of product authentication is the simplest way to attain the goal - but it comes at a cost. Checkout Orygene , Mobile Knowledge , or other similar solutions for more information.
2. Create a Custom Solution - creating a specific solution geared toward your brand’s specific needs can be done to make the most customized experience for your brand and customers.
A. Hire a 3rd Party - Use a 3rd party software development team to create an app available on the app store or a custom API. A custom site or app can be developed that houses all product authentication codes for all products to be compared against once the NFC tag is tapped.
B. DIY - Leverage existing software developers on your team to help to create a solution that can create a solution that stores an individual product’s authentication codes on a database. Customized NFC tags can push users to a website with a unique postfix upon tapping a product. The unique postfix in the URL matches the individual product’s authentication code. Once the site loads, the postfix can be queried against the private database and show the user a message if the number is found, guaranteeing that the product is authentic.
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