RFID More than Just a Supply-Chain Tool

When RFID is used for product authentication, brand managers don’t have to lift a finger. Texas Instruments Inc. (TI; Dallas) has written a white paper detailing how “smart electronic security markers based on RFID technology make it easier to authenticate a product as genuine, compared with current anticounterfeit methods that require human intervention,” the company claims in a press release.

Because RFID automatically reads products as they pass through the supply chain, either individually or as a group inside a shipping case, the technology can be effective against counterfeiting. “While there are a number of measures that can be taken to protect brand integrity in the supply chain for pharmaceuticals and other high-value items, RFID offers the most potential of any technology on the market today,” says Rick Raber, chief technologist for RFID integrator Northern Apex. Raber was the project manager for Northern Apex on what is reported to be the first use of RFID in the pharmaceutical supply chain—the application of RFID labels on Oxycontin. Raber testified before Congress in July on anticounterfeiting and RFID.

TI’s paper addresses the use of both an off-network and an on-network approach to enable “anywhere, anytime” authentication of tag data. “RFID has always been about providing consumer convenience, protection, and security in applications as diverse as automobiles, toll tags, and retail payment,” says Joseph Pearson, business development manager, TI-RFid Systems, and author of the new white paper. “Now, RFID authentication of individual items can protect both consumers and companies alike against counterfeit goods.”

To download the white paper, titled “Increasing Security in the Supply Chain with Electronic Security Markers,” click on www.ti.com/rfid/shtml/form-wp-security20_sep_06.shtml

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