Consumers Use Mobile Phones to Check Products With Chesapeake System
Power is given to the people to protect against counterfeits.
By David Vaczek
Consumers can use their cell phones to confirm products’ authenticity with Chesapeake’s Pro-Tex system. Courtesy Chesapeake Corp.
Chesapeake Corp. (Richmond, VA) has launched the Pro-Tex system for helping consumers confirm that a product is genuine. The end-user at the point of purchase checks an identification code on the package against a secure database using standard mobile phone text messaging.
Codes are assigned and generated by Chesapeake in a closed-loop system. A database holds information specified by the brand owner for communication to the consumer. Consumers registering the code for the first time receive confirmation with a return short text message (SMS). The end-user is alerted if the code is not recorded in the database, or if it has already been registered.
“The item codes can be applied to cartons, labels, leaflets, and plastic containers using ink-jet or digital printing,” says Carol Hammond, head of R&D, Chesapeake. “The unique item codes are randomly generated and not in sequence to further enhance security.”
Any packaging using the visibly-rendered code would include instructions. “So far, we have used a font size which is easy to read, but the brand owner will decide on the size and detail of the instructions for meeting package design requirements,” she says.
The supply chain can use the system to track product and build information on a product’s distribution, life cycle, and usage. “The location of items carrying the Pro-Tex code can be checked against [their] intended market destination,” Hammond says. “For example, if a batch of products is shipped to destination A and a text message is received from a phone with a country dial code for destination B, this sends a clear signal that products are moving through parallel channels.”
Supporting multilingual messaging, the system adjusts message content based on the incoming message. Brand owners can use SMS to alert consumers to product changes, or convey marketing messages in response to the receipt of the code.
Hammond says response times to the consumer have been measured at less than one minute, but response is location and service provider dependent.