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Authenticity. Whether we’re buying for our businesses or ourselves, we trust that what we’re receiving is the genuine article, the real deal. And if we discover that the purchased item isn’t authentic, we will never trust that brand again.

And trust can make or break a business. A recent Harris Poll found that if Americans learned that they had purchased a fake product, 73% would stop buying from the company that sold it.

Often the brands themselves are unknowingly caught in the same web of fakery. It’s challenging for them to protect themselves from bad actors. Labels and packaging can be fraudulently duplicated, genuine raw materials can be hard to distinguish from fake ones, artworks can be cleverly copied to look just like the original.

But there’s hope. RFID is playing an ever-larger role in the area of authenticity guarantees. Provenance, a word originally associated with fine art, has come to mean the origin of any item with an unbroken chain of custody through its journey from manufacturing to consumption. The unique identity information contained in RFID tags ensures the provenance of an item.

Recent counterfeit-fighting applications include:

  • Legal documents with RFID embedded in the paper. These prevent the presentation of fake property transfers, licenses, and permits.
  • Live fish with tiny internal RFID tags. The tags ensure that inferior fish are not mislabeled as high-value ones.
  • Wine corks with embedded RFID tags. These provide a “digital birth certificate” proving that label on the bottle matches the wine inside it.
  • High value wood and wood products with embedded RFID tags. These prevent $400,000 guitar bodies and $500,000 violin bodies from being made with cheaper wood.

RFID has revolutionized retail and supply chain management, business to business commerce, and manufacturing and logistics. Now it’s supporting brand trust by guaranteeing authenticity. If you’re in the business of manufacturing and selling indisputably genuine products, add RFID to your process and be confident that counterfeits will be exposed.

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