Brands have always invested in systems and solutions to secure their products. In the past, some of the most used strategies to hinder the circulation on the market of fake, illegally refilled, or adulterated products included barcodes, serial numbers, and physical seals.
However, over the past years, bad actors have become more ingenious and the global supply chain, which is under unprecedented pressure, has presented plenty of weak spots. To fight the increased volume of fake, illegal, and unsafe products on the market, brands had to step up their security game and adopt new technologies – such as physical-digital security seals.
But how do these next-generation security seals work? And how can businesses integrate them within their operation? In this guide by the authentication experts at Authena, you’ll find all you need to know. Let’s dive in!
Physical-Digital Security Seals: A Quick-Start Guide
To understand how to create physical-digital seals, it is firstly important to clarify what these security seals are and how they work.
At their core, physical-digital seals are electronic signatures that are applied to a product, usually on its packaging or outer case.
These seals create a digital copy of the product, which exists on the Metaverse or blockchain infrastructure. Thanks to this digital representation of the physical product, manufacturers and consumers can track it, visualize it through the supply chain, and acquire real-time information about its location, temperature, safety, packaging quality, status, production, and distribution process.
You can find more about these seals here: https://authena.io/security-seals/
Unlike barcodes, QR codes, and serial numbers, which can be easily copied and falsified, physical-digital security seals are much harder to compromise. What’s more, with physical-digital seals, every piece of information about the product and its transactions is safely and immutably stored on the blockchain.
Physical-digital seals also offer unique properties, including:
- Resistance to cloning
- Information encryption
- Protection against hacking
- Compromised and unusable once removed
3 Ways To Create a Physical-Digital Security Seal
Introducing physical-digital seals in your business should be a company-wide operation, an operation that isn’t always free of risks and challenges. Because of this, it is crucial to work with an authentication expert who can guide you in the implementation of this new technology.
Introducing Blockchain Technology and Smart Contracts
One of the best ways to create physical-digital seals is to implement an end-to-end authentication solution that leverages emerging technologies such as blockchain infrastructures and Smart Contracts.
Tags incorporated into the product’s packaging will carry encrypted information about the product itself. These tags are then scanned through enabled devices, which will record each transaction onto a blockchain infrastructure. This information, which includes data about the product’s status, geolocation, and interactions, can then be accessed by manufacturers and consumers in real-time.
Leveraging the Metaverse and Digital Twins
Another strategy to create physical-digital seals is to introduce a Metaverse infrastructure into your company and create digital twins of each product, item, or batch produced.
Once the digital twins are created, these will exist in the Metaverse. And in case each of them is uniquely paired to a physical-digital identifier applied to each produced item, producers and users can track and trace them throughout their journey from development to delivery.
Some of the information that can be delivered through this solution include product details, security features, proof of authenticity, instructions, warnings, ingredients, and expiry dates. To access this data, users will simply need to use an enabled device (i.e.: their smartphones).
Taking Advantage of Smart Packaging Solutions
One of the most straightforward ways to introduce physical-digital seals into your organization is to adopt smart packaging solutions. Technology-enhanced packaging allows you to incorporate systems such as NFC and RFID tags, which can be read by enabled devices such as scanners and smartphones.
These tags allow manufacturers and consumers to access critical information about a product’s temperature, status, safety, and authenticity. And, even more importantly, these next-generation tags are more difficult to compromise or clone.
The Benefits of Digital-Physical Security Seals
Although introducing physical-digital seals might represent a significant investment and can be a change requiring an adaptation period, the benefits deriving from this technology are certainly not negligible.
Some of the long-term advantages that physical-digital seals might offer include:
- Fighting counterfeit – According to European studies, the volume of fake and pirated goods on the market has increased as a consequence of the pandemic and the rise of eCommerce. Physical-digital seals offer much greater visibility into the supply chain, which can help companies fight illegal activity.
- Boosting customer trust – According to the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer, consumer trust is at an all-time low, and the public expects businesses to do more to make a positive impact on society. Introducing the latest technologies and adopting a radical transparency mindset can help you win over the trust and loyalty of consumers.
- Safeguarding public health – By increasing supply chain visibility, physical-digital seals can reduce the circulation of fake products that have not received the necessary safety certifications. In turn, this can reduce public safety risks and prevent costly recalls.
- Improving a company’s bottom line – According to new studies, consumers are willing to pay more for products that actively incorporate authenticity features, such as supply chain traceability solutions.
Working With a Product Authentication Expert
Introducing physical-digital seals might not be the most straightforward of processes. To ensure that you have picked the right solution for your business and that the deployment is carried out seamlessly, you should not think twice about partnering with an expert product authentication company.