How smartphones and computer vision can take security to a new level

The latest mobile technology enables holography to be used to invent new ways to combat counterfeiting.

Holography has helped bring the digital interaction of smartphones closer to the brand protection and authentication space where security technology finds new niches and applications. This in turn leads to continued expansion as more organizations embrace the benefits offered by holograms and invest in interactive digital solutions to protect their products from piracy and counterfeiters of global brands.

In particular, there are a myriad of opportunities emerging for brand protection and anti-counterfeiting through hologram validation using computer vision on smartphones. The use of smartphones with built-in cameras has been transformative, and the image and video content captured on these devices dominates much of contemporary life through social media, entertainment, recognition and validation. So-called “computer vision” has become ubiquitous and familiar; A powerful tool for checking and identifying holograms.

For example, a consumer can verify the integrity of a holographic tax stamp on a bottle of wine while a unique identifier associates them with a tracking and tracing information system that will confirm the authenticity (or not) of the product. The smartphone app “interrogates” the hologram and looks for any built-in safety features by examining the interaction via reflected light.

As a security component, holograms are indeed powerful devices in their own right. Not only are holograms expensive, but they can be detected quickly because they are usually much duller than real ones, or lack the complexity and fine detail of well-intentioned images.

All of this presupposes that people – especially consumers – know what they are looking for in the first place. Often they don’t. Additionally, while the visual properties of holograms are intended to be the public’s first line of defense, they often include hidden jobs for inspectors such as customs officers who need special readers. Although not necessarily expensive, these devices must be left to inspectors, which can be a logistical problem.

This is where computer vision holograms come in, providing all the benefits of physical digital protection through ubiquitous smartphone readers for authentication, supply chain tracking, traceability, and gray market monitoring. They can also be used as part of an improved and improved warranty management system and product return programs to inspire greater consumer confidence.

Offering a high level of deterrence against counterfeiting, a new generation of enhanced digital optical features, which incorporate 3D effects and provide overt, covert and legitimate functionality, herald a radical change. For example, the UNIQODE project of Portugal’s Mint and official printing company INCMLAB have developed encryption technology that has been created and integrated into holograms that can be verified by both online and offline mobile devices, preventing product tampering and making traceability easier.

A highly flexible, efficient machine-readable information system used to quickly verify and validate security documents that also has broader brand protection applications in the consumer market. UNIQODE integrates a security hologram that encodes unique and non-repeating layers of optical properties. By being available to its users, it also allows the consumer to help brands and authorities in the fight against counterfeiting, further enhancing trust in the marketplace.

The same authentication technology could be used to support systems that certify people who are immune to Covid-19. In an interesting development, OpSec has a tracking and tracing product for linking a Covid or vaccination test result, which carries a unique identifier with a token on a government-grade 3D smart tag. This can be attached to a person’s passport or other identity document and then verified, for example by passport control officers, using a simple smartphone app.

As holography continues to find new and different ways to embrace digital interaction, the technology itself remains unchanged – a highly secure and convenient component of corporate identities to protect the brand, protect against counterfeiting, and secure tax revenue as part of tax stamp tracking and tracking programs.

The use of smartphones is taking to a new level, combining these advantages and the ability to complement visual protection with a range of new opportunities for digital protection and product management.

Dr. Paul Dunn is president of the International Association of Hologram Manufacturers.

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