A new anti-counterfeit product app, Authenticateit, has been developed in Australia.
Authenticateit is a smartphone app that gives consumers a fast and convenient way to check an item’s authenticity before making a purchase, while at the same time offering brand owners a powerful tool to track, trace and prevent instances of unauthorised distribution and retailing.
The app's developer, Gennardy Volchek told Toy & Hobby Retailer that he was inspired to create the app by the high incidence of counterfeit products being sold online. He noted that the toy industry has also been grappling with this problem.
“Because we are buying more and more products on line, counterfeiting has become a real problem,” said Volchek. “Being a consumer myself, and having a family who is buying online, there just didn't seem to be a solution or any real way to protect yourself. This system can give consumers, without any prior knowledge, a quick and cost-effective way to check the products for counterfeiting.”
“Customers can simply download the iPhone and Andriod app, press the button and scan the barcode on the product. A message will pop up that will either confirm that the product is authentic or say that we cannot confirm the authenticity of that particular product,” he said.
The app utilises databar, the new standard of barcode issued by GS1, the not-for-profit organisation that governs barcodes. The databar codes look like a standard product barcode that would be scanned at the point of purchase and are designed to be dual purpose, eliminates the need for an additional identifier on the product.
Volchek says that if a product is unable to be authenticated it is either from a brand that has not subscribed to the service, or it might actually be a counterfeit item.
“In any case consumers have the option to report this product back to the brand so the brand owner can take measures to pursue illegal manufacture,” he said. “Becasue the system's initial function is to scan and verify the barcode, we also give customers the option to select from a dropdown list and nominate the brandname and the type of product they are looking at and forward that information on to the brand owner.
“All intelligence is done in the cloud and we have track and trace technology that enables us to track items through the supply chain so that at any particular time we know the exact geo-location of the item. We can then compare this with the geo-location of the consumer utilising the GPS function of the mobile phone and check that the consumer is in the correct location for the genuine article.”
Volchek says the success of the system relies on being able to assign the barcode at the time of manufacture.
“We need to be there during production to be able to track and trace the product from the source. Our system cannot be retrofitted because we cannot be sure that it is 100 per cent genuine once the goods have left the factory,” he said.
“Authenticateit has two types of clients: the end user – anyone buying products; and brand owners – manufacturers of products,” said Volchek. “Counterfeiting is not limited to luxury goods alone; it could be pharmaceutical products, liquor or any type of product you buy in your day-to-day life. It's very important for consumers to know they are buying a genuine product.”
From a brand perspective, Volchek said Authenticateit has cross-industry appeal: “Counterfeiting is rife in the pharmaceutical, motoring and aviation spare parts manufacturing sectors. This app could possibly alleviate life-threatening issues, not just the disappointment of a fake luxury bag.”
At time of writing field testing is underway with two clients in Australia; a belt manufacturer and an ugg boot manufacturer. Volchek says the company has had a very positive response from potential clients across a variety of sectors in Europe and Australia.
“They are all waiting for the findings from the case studies on the field trials to be published,” he said. “Because our plan is to work with a large number of brands on a high volume of product so the cost per item to register will be very low – so much so that it will not impact on the wholesale price of the product. It will not bring the cost of the item up and because we utilise the exiting production cycle of the manufacturer, installation could vary from a couple of days to a couple of weeks as we customise our solution to fit their current production environment.”
Volchek said the toy industry is one of the sectors his company will be targeting, because counterfeiting can impinge on children's well-being and parents need to be able to check what they buy for their kids.