Cable company Nexans deploys authentication tech

Counterfeit electrical cables are an ever-present problem for the building sector, with the potential for catastrophic consequences including fires. Now one manufacturer – France's Nexans – is fighting back with a security label using authentication technology from Authentic Vision.

Nexans has started using Authentic Vision's Meta-Anchor holographic fingerprint technology to protect its products from fraudsters, secure its supply chain and combat illicit trade.

Cable products bearing the new labels are already being distributed in Peru and Lebanon, and are under deployment in other countries, with the aim of eventually being used worldwide.

The labels make it easy for customers or distributors to scan and verify the authenticity of a product with any smartphone, according to Nexans, which says the labels show "its determination to protect its customers from potentially harmful, substandard products."

Industry sources have estimated that as much as 20 per cent of the cable for sale at any time may be unsafe, unapproved or counterfeit.

A common scam is to pass off inferior riser cable as Low Smoke Zero Halogen (LSZH) cable, and it is also known that copper clad aluminium (CCA) cable has been mis-sold as 100 per cent copper plenum (CMP) cables (Cat5e/Cat6), which have fire retardant jackets and cannot actually cause fires.

"Our security labels are unique and absolutely copy-proof due to the physical randomness used in the production process," commented Thomas Weiss, Authentic Vision's chief executive.

"Even we are not able to duplicate or copy the labels ourselves."

Along with the authentication functionality, Nexans and Authentic Vision are also working on customer engagement features that will be incorporated in the Nexans mobile app, such as installation guide videos and product brochures.

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