Unique Code Forum 2019

Already for the third time SECURIKETT organized the FORUM UNIQUE CODES on 23rd of May 2019. This year the international congress focused on digitization in product and brand protection, on the entry of IoT into the world of single item products. The organizer looks back to a successful event.

The demanding programme with international speakers attracted over 70 visitors from 14 countries. Even a long journey from China, India or the USA could not stop them.

IoT, the Internet of Things, does not only take place in the world of electronic products. With the help of unique codes, i.e. unique letter and number combinations, that are either printed as QR codes or stored in a chip (NFC, UHF), it is possible to identify products at item level. This in turn enables digital communication with and among the products.

In addition to proof of originality and direct communication with consumers, the traceability throughout the distribution chain is a major concern for many brand owners. Marco Linsenmann, CDO at Securikett, highlighted the potential multiple use of unique codes at single product level, such as customer loyalty programs and identity services. The analysis of the data collected through scans opens up a new pool of market information as well as logistics data for brand owners. For example, improved production planning can be the by-product of product tracking - Track & Trace - in the supply chain.

The modern consumer wants to be addressed, informed and involved. Above all, he demands transparency about the origin and authenticity of the products. With unique codes and a smartphone this is possible in real time.

Data security and a secure storage environment were another focus of the presentations. DI Dr. Christian Baumann, head of working group "Blockchain - Lab" at AUSTRIAPRO, gave an insight into the basics of blockchain technology. Blockchain is based on a distributed, non reversible storage technology and is subsumed under the umbrella term "distributed ledger architecture". Therefore it may be used as a storage technology for the traceability of products where it is already used.

DI Markus Hefler, MSc, Chief Information Security Officer at Raiffeisen Informatik Center Steiermark GmbH, described the requirements for a secure and high-performance hosting platform for ID services. He also pointed out various precautions against attacks that could paralyze an ID platform.

If the unique codes and any associated data are stored on an NFC or RFID element, the choice of a sufficiently secure memory chip must also be taken into account. Zanghee Cho, MSc, Product Manager, and Sylvia Kaiser-Kershaw, MBA, Senior Marketing Manager at NXP, explained how the crypto-secure NFC chip technology supports fraud protection.

The first international standards have already been developed in the field of product authentication and identification. Two active contributors to ISO TC 292 examined the impact of standards on the public and private sector:

Securikett Managing Director Dr. Marietta Ulrich-Horn, MBA, project manager ISO 22381, presented the principles of the ISO standards referring to product ID systems. When it comes to implementation, interoperability of several systems is necessary, especially in the public sector - pharmaceutical and tobacco regulation - and requires international guidelines.

Sicpa Proposal Management Director Christophe Renard, MBA, Project Manager ISO 22383, addressed the rapid development that is reflected in the standardization of product authentication. Since the first edition of the standard 6 years ago, the digital component has gained massively in importance in the verification of products and will be considered in the current revision. As before, however, the merge of product IDs with copy-safe print elements and tamper evidence is regarded as a necessary element in product authentication.

In particular, the current case studies provided material for discussions during the breaks. Daniel Nicholson reported on the advantages of Smart Packaging in the day-to-day business of Tangle Teezer®.

Current case studies completed the varied programme. Daniel Nicholson, now VP IT at Sweaty Betty, reported on the success of TangleTeezer® in combating grey market trade. As Head of IT Projects he had been project manager and "Specifier" for the introduction of the CODIKETT® Cloud solution.

Markus Ederwall, Business Controller at Maria Nila AB, is currently leading a project for the fully automated capture of unique code labels in robot-operated packaging lines. The aggregation of single product codes to the code of the shipping carton up to the pallet code is also created automatically. Maria Nila has strategically decided to serialize every single product in order to protect the rapidly growing global distribution against grey market trade. The roll-out started with smaller batches and is now entering the full implementation phase.

After numerous presentations on the importance, security and benefits of unique codes, one more question had to be answered: How are unique codes applied to a product without the possibility to transfer them to another product?

Securikett Managing Director Werner Horn, MBA, explained the new role of security labels in his presentation. With the digital component, they now have extended tasks. The modern security label generates data through the scans and at the same time offers benefits for all involved parties. In order for supply chain participants to recognize the association of the label with Identity Services, the label must visually communicate what it does. The higher the scanning rate among voluntary users, the more valuable and security-relevant the label becomes.

As transition to the Factory Tour, Jose Tojo, Code Systems and Account Management at Securikett, introduced the "Catchy Label", whose production was subsequently shown in a live demonstration at Securikett.

An "eye-catcher", a prototype specially developed for the FORUM UNIQUE CODES, was presented. The aim was consumer attraction to animate them to scan the label. From the design development with scan-icons and a holographic lens from KURZ®, over the printing of the tamper-proof VOID effect and the variable CODIKETT® code, to the adhesive coating and up to the integration and coding of the NFC elements, the participants were able to follow the complex manufacturing process in a live demo at the production site in Münchendorf.

From the printing, over the application of the adhesive, up to the NFC integration and personalization of the chips, the whole production process of the "Catchy Label" could be followed at the Securikett Factory Tour in Münchendorf.

The delegates were enabled to become active themselves and scan with their smartphones. The "Catchy Label" stuck on a give-away contained a printed QR code as well as an integrated NFC chip, which both had stored the same code. As a consumer attraction, the CODIKETT® software team came up with a different response page for each scan. The alternating images also included a winning page, which popped up after multiple scans.

From theory to practice - a day rich in substance, which the participants finished with a networking dinner in nearby Gumpoldskirchen.

The fourth FORUM UNIQUE CODES is planned for 2021.

The curious visitors followed Werner Horn through the security gate into the production.