The booming counterfeit market is a growing concern with increasing globalization and technological development. This affects businesses in terms of investment, innovation, trade, employment, the environment, and the health and safety of the consumers. Anti-counterfeiting technology plays a key role to fight counterfeit products, and retain the image of the company and its brands.
The many benefits of economic liberalization include the development of organized retailing and multichannel marketing. Rising consumer incomes, favorable demographics are leading to changing lifestyles and the demand for better merchandise. Along with the ease and convenience of shopping, the current scenario has also fuelled the proliferation of counterfeit goods into the system. Retailers and brand owners are investing heavily in anti-counterfeiting products to minimize losses and retain consumer confidence.
What Is The Solution?
The issue of counterfeited and fake goods would require a collaborative effort between the various stakeholders. Brand owners, third-party providers, retailers, law enforcement agencies need to come together to find viable solutions. The advancements in technology have made life easier for us in every imaginable segment. The best possible solution to this challenge of fake products, once again lies in technology.
Anti-counterfeiting technology is going to play a pivotal role in the fight against counterfeits with increasing globalization and cross-border trade. Many countries have enacted vigilance, surveillance, and legislation against the entry of counterfeits into the system. These measures need to be further strengthened with anti-counterfeiting products and systems that enhance visibility, safety, and security of the supply chain.
Multi-Layered Approach with the help of Anti-Counterfeiting Technology
Technological advancement has enabled us to design mechanisms to detect, prevent, and deter counterfeiting and piracy. The primary function of any anti-counterfeiting technology is to allow the product to be authenticated through tracing and tracking the chain of custody and ownership by consumers, regulators, and Government. Acting as a deterrent against counterfeiting is a secondary function. From the very basic to highly advanced and sophisticated, there are numerous anti-counterfeiting technology solutions available to brand owners at both product and packaging levels.
All anti-counterfeit products and technologies are broadly classified as overt or covert.
Covert features are implemented in a manner that only the brand owners have access to them while identifying counterfeit products. Consumers have no way to verify or even be aware of the presence of covert features on products.
Not easy to detect or copy, covert features are vendor and technology-specific. These features require special and specific scanning or reading devices.
Some examples of covert features –
- Images or micro text that’s embedded in the object and is viewable with a magnifying glass.
- Digital watermarks, a type of marker that is embedded in the image data or as audio in a noise-tolerant signal. These can be used to show the owner’s identity and are perceptible only under certain conditions. For instance, after using specific algorithms.
- Microscopic application of UV ink allows invisible printing on the surface of the product. For example, nano printing substrate technology shows different variations of an image under the light.
- Marking or engraving the product surface using laser coding does not involve ink or tool bits to mark/imprint the item.
Overt features are enabled to allow end-users to authenticate a product. While these features are visible, they are both expensive and difficult to replicate.
These features are designed in a way that any tampering or reuse will cause damage to the product or its packaging. The type of overt feature to be used depends on various factors such as cost, ease of implementation, and consumer safety.
Examples of overt features –
- Security features used on banknotes, credit cards, passports, etc., and other optically variable features use latent image formations that are printed to show a pattern.
- Tamper evident packing such as film wraps, breakable caps, shrink seals, or even markings that can be detected if disturbed/destroyed.
- Holographic foils that show an image when tilted in light are designed to offer authentication of the brand; in some cases, they also carry tamper-evident properties.
- Barcodes and RFID enable a track and trace system to secure the supply chain. The inclusion of non-sequential numbering or unique and random serialization enhances product security even more.
- AI-based tagging that cannot be cloned and can be scanned through the native capabilities of a smartphone, while allowing consumers to report fakes along with photographs and specific location details, are one of the best lines of defense against counterfeit products.
Deploying Relevant Technology Solutions
There has been a rising trend for large brand owners to take on the counterfeit market by holding press conferences and advertising targeted towards creating awareness about the challenges of counterfeiting amongst the consumers.
This does nothing effective to actually secure the product but may negatively affect the brand’s credibility. Protecting a product against counterfeit requires the deployment of full proof technological solutions. These solutions are designed in ways that are either not known to the counterfeiters or cannot be replicated by them.
NeuroTags digital solutions not only combat counterfeiting by allowing consumers to authenticate the product easily through their smartphones; but also provide them the means to report fakes along with details. This helps phenomenally in boosting the consumer’s trust in the brand and promotes the credibility of the company. Reach out to NeuroTags to combat counterfeiting and build a solid consumer base that truly endorses your product.