Cybersecurity firm VST moves into clothing anti-counterfeiting

UK cybersecurity firm VST Enterprises has joined forces with international fashion business Dewhirst to provide anti-counterfeiting technology for clothing and accessories.

The VApparel and VCode technology is essentially a scannable code that provides a traceability function and acts as a secure identifier to prevent the circulation of counterfeit products, while also providing instant product information and faster payments for product purchases.

The 2-dimensional code technology also targets consumer engagement by providing information on product offers and promotions to compliment loyalty programmes and marketing strategies.

The technology, which is not limited to existing Dewhirst clients, will be rolled out across international clothing and accessory brands to promote ongoing traceability and customer interaction, the companies said.

Use of the technology will bring Dewhirst to the "forefront of modern technology", said Louis-James Davis, chief executive of VST (pictured). "Dewhirst is pioneering the use of this technology on wearable items across its international network and we plan to work together to use VApparel for many more applications in future… [and] to defining new ways to apply the technology."

Anthony Wood, chief executive of Dewhirst, said: "VApparel will revolutionise engagement with the customer pre- and post-purchase, across sectors and geographies, ensuring quality, safe, genuine fashion."

According to VST, the VCode technology could be considered a rival to blockchain – a time-stamped database of ordered records useful for track and trace. Through an app, VCodes can be scanned by a smart device to direct users to a bespoke information portal, which can be used for traceability and product authentication, as well as customer engagement and as a secure digital method of payment.

The codes can also be scanned at any angle, from great distances and on moving vehicles.

To ensure closed-loop security, "only VSTE database servers can generate a valid VCode and only the VCode app can successfully decrypt a VCode and deliver the content required," the company website says.

VST says there are 28x 72 quadrillion VCode variations, which is equivalent to about 288 million unique codes per person on the planet.

The back-end system is the VPlatform, where VCodes are generated, tracked and analysed. According to the company, the anti-counterfeiting feature works by having the VPlatform compare the user's GPS location against the genuine product delivery address. If the data doesn't match an alert is sent.

Earlier this year, VST signed a deal with VRCO Limited to use the VCode on the Neo X Craft project, which is a project to build a low-emission autonomous flying vehicle. It will provide traceability and authentication, as well as maintenance monitoring of the parts and components, and access and security.

The VCode is also being used as a method of payment for parking at 485,000 car park pay points in the UK and to reduce fraud in the gaming industry, and eliminating fraud in the Indian benefits system.

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