Brady battles bogus goods with HP Global Product Authentication Services

Most of us know it when we see knockoff luxury goods such as purses and sunglasses being hawked by street vendors and sold at flea markets. But counterfeiting is not just a problem for the Louis Vuittons and Ray-Bans of the world. From children’s toys to prescription drugs, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has found that as much as 64% of counterfeit products are purchased from legitimate shops and retailers — bilking consumers with inferior (or worse, unsafe) goods while saddling manufacturers with a triple whammy: loss of profits; erosion of customer trust; and potential litigation, as liability often falls with the brand owner.

 

As you might recall from an earlier post here, HP developed Global Product Authentication Service (HP GPAS) so that consumers can use their mobile devices to instantly tell whether goods are authentic before purchasing. Simply scan a QR code on the packaging when you’re in a store to find out if the item is the real McCoy — or a clever fake. The QR code is reconciled against authentic codes stored in HP’s secure cloud, and an immediate response is returned to the customer.

 

Boosting customer confidence

 

With a smartphone or tablet in so many of our pockets and purses, being able to boost your own consumer confidence becomes a real-life, gee-whiz perk of modern living. It’s also a feather in the cap for manufacturers, as they can boost trust and loyalty with customers while engaging them in the process.

 

It’s such a good idea that it caught the attention of the folks at Brady Corporation, a developer of identification solutions — and now the first authorized reseller of HP GPAS. Paul T. Zarling, global director of brand protection at Brady Corporation, explains that his company specializes in identification and brand protection. “We’re very good at the physical side of identification,” Zarling says. “Now you layer in the GPAS solution, and that adds a nice digital security element. … Whether it’s somebody scanning in a QR code or sending an SMS text or entering a code online, they now have an immediacy that can give them the confidence that they’ve got an authentic product. … It’s about the end-user having confidence in the brand, that they’ve got the right stuff.”

 

Zarling says GPAS also has the right stuff for the IT team. “It’s just so easy to implement, because it’s cloud-based,” he says. “You don’t have to worry about all the backend stuff, [and] it gives you measurable results. You can take this back to your execs and … clearly point to numbers.” The technology, developed in conjunction with HP Labs, gives manufacturers insight into counterfeiting activities via real-time dashboards that show which products are being counterfeited, how many, and where they are being counterfeited around the world.

 

Peace of mind for manufacturers

 

GPAS can help manufacturers identify where their problem areas are and prioritize them. The tool is not just for the enforcement team, Zarling says: “It can move further up the process to the security team to help with prevention. Losses can be mitigated and at the same time you can reduce the number of times you have to send out your enforcement team.”

 

Zarling says that Brady sees GPAS as a good fit for the high-tech electronics, aerospace, automotive, and pharmaceutical industries, as well as apparel, food, and beverages. HP has used the service itself to combat counterfeiting of its printer ink cartridges, but HP GPAS could be used to track and authenticate virtually any product.

 

“It’s really about making it simple for the end-user, and at the same time, brand owners can engage the consumer not just on the security side, but on the trust side,” Zarling explains. “It’s an extra level of engagement.”

 

There’s more information in these videos and at www.hp.com/go/authenticate.

 

 

 

Related link: Use the cloud to combat counterfeit goods, and impact the bottom line

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About the Author
Alec Wagner is a longtime writer & editor, enterprise IT insider, and (generally) fearless digital nomad.


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