Toppan Printing Co., Ltd. (hereafter Toppan Printing; head office: Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo; President & Representative Director: Shingo Kaneko) has established a new technology that enables machine confirmation of authenticity by simply using a smartphone to scan a specially-designed hologram. Sample shipments of a new packaged service combining hologram labels and an authentication system are scheduled to begin in fiscal 2017, targeting industries such as automobile parts, medical goods, and cosmetics, in which counterfeit and imitation products are seen as an increasing problem.
This technology performs authentication by comparing the optical design information for a hologram specially designed and developed by Toppan Printing against the result of high-accuracy optical analysis of the same hologram as scanned using a smartphone camera. As this enables authentication on widely available smartphones, consumers themselves can verify the authenticity of the products they purchase. The burden associated with introducing the technology is also lightened because dedicated devices are not required for authentication.
Affixing hologram labels to products when they are shipped from plants can make it possible for anyone to simply scan the label with a smartphone to confirm authenticity with a high level of accuracy during the stages of distribution, sales, consumption, and use.
■ Background to development
In recent years, the distribution of imitation goods has expanded on a global scale. Associated annual losses worldwide are said to total ¥177 trillion, and forms of distribution are diversifying. For businesses, measures to counteract counterfeit products are a pressing issue due to the risk of reduced sales of authentic goods and loss of brand value due to the continued flow of imitation goods.
Holograms are widely used as a counterfeit prevention tools that address such needs. In particular, holograms that enable visual confirmation of authenticity without the need for dedicated devices have been well-received because services using them are easy to roll out to consumers. However, although visual confirmation is possible when the authentic product and counterfeit are both close at hand and can be compared, this is rarely the case, and consumers find it difficult to accurately confirm the authenticity of counterfeits that look similar to the real thing.
Toppan Printing has now combined special hologram technology honed over many years with high-accuracy optical analysis technology to establish a means of automatically confirming authenticity by scanning with a smartphone. With this technology, we hope to contribute to preventing losses caused by counterfeit and imitation products around the world.
■ Features of the technology
・Authentication by simply scanning with a smartphone
Authentication can be performed by simply scanning the specially-designed hologram with a smartphone on which the dedicated application has been installed.
・High-security hologram that is almost impossible to counterfeit
All processes for the specially-designed hologram used in this service are managed by Toppan Printing, from basic optical design to manufacture of the finished hologram. The use of special hologram manufacturing equipment and materials means that the security level is extremely high and counterfeiting and imitation are almost impossible. In addition, while conventional hologram light is easily affected by noise from lighting and other light sources, this new specially-designed hologram is affected little by noise, meaning that its unique light patterns are easily detected by devices.
・Advanced authentication algorithm achieved through optical analysis technologies
With conventional holograms, the hologram pattern is recognized as an image. However, Toppan Printing has established a unique authentication algorithm that uses optical analysis technology. Authentication is possible even with holograms whose appearance seems to be the same.
■ Future targets
Toppan Printing plans to proceed with development of an authentication service using this technology, carry out test marketing in fiscal 2017, and launch the service in autumn 2018 with a target of achieving total sales, including related orders, of approximately ¥1 billion by 2020.
* The information in this press release is current as of the date of publication and is subject to change without notice.