At General Data, we're always thrilled to hear about innovation in barcoding technology. Barcodes can already be found on just about anything, dramatically reducing error and improving processes in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, distribution, logistics, retail and information technology. It's the most efficient way for digital systems to identify and integrate with tangible assets.
And now it's among the most secure.
We already use barcoding and labeling information systems to track and identify items with different types of barcodes throughout the supply chain, but a New York company has been raising the bar in secure tracking, recently adding to its offerings with an end-to-end, DNA-secured variant of the ubiquitous QR code.
Let's pretend you're arguably the biggest Steve Jobs fan in the world — you're the guy who bought Apple's founding articles of incorporation for $1.6M, and they're being delivered to your house. It'd be great to be able to see an online confirmation of authenticity by pulling out your iPhone and scanning a QR code upon arrival, right? But what if something looked fishy? If you suspect your package was intercepted and a counterfeit copy was delivered to you, what do you do?
A normal QR code could be easily replicated by someone with Google, a printer and a bit of computational savvy. But this is where the DNA element comes into play.
Launched by Applied DNA Sciences(ADNAS), the new solution, dubbed digitalDNA, actually mixes DNA concentrate into the ink that's used to print the QR code, preventing the secure code from being truly copied. If you think you may have been duped, the QR code can be sent to a lab for forensic analysis to be checked for authenticity much like human samples can be used to verify a child's parents. The lab results, of course, are actionable in court.
The main benefit of the QR code is its end-user approchability. When used throughout the supply chain, ADNAS's solution shines at scale. The general process starts when a product is manufactured and assigned a UPC code, then packaged with a digitalDNA label. The UPC and digitalDNA codes are associated, and a unique, traceable identity is established. This information is entered into an ERP and coud-based system before shipping to the end user or distributor. Because the QR code is native to the process, the consumer instantly has that familiar QR code that can be scanned to discover more about the product received.
While this may not change the game for all businesses, manufacturers and distributers of computer hardware, government and military goods stand to benefit from the added security in a big way.