YPB claims technical first with authentication tech

YPB Group says it has made a major step forward with its Motif Micro authentication system that will allow a mass consumer market launch by the end of the year.

The company says it has solved the technical obstacle of being able to read authentication marks, on a curved surface and at a distance, using an unaided Apple/iOS smartphone in normal lighting – in other words under ‘real world’ conditions.

YPB acquired the Motif Micro microscopic barcode technology – licensed from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and based on a proprietary covert tracer based on rare earth elements – when it bought its eponymous developer back in 2015 in a $7m deal.

“YPB believes this to be a world first achievement,” said the company in a statement, adding: “Commercially, it is a major breakthrough as it opens mass consumer goods markets to YPB by offering brands direct consumer engagement powered by assured product authentication.”

The Australia-listed company’s first iteration of smartphone readability with Motif Micro was launched in 2018 but required the phone to be held flat against the surface being scanned, which the company says limited the practical and commercial appeal of the system.

“Most consumer goods products of interest to YPB (pharmaceutical bottles, cosmetic tubes, wine bottles etc.) have curved surfaces,” says the company.

The ProtectCode smartphone app is currently only available on iOS bit YPB says it will be easy to adapt it for use on Android phones.

“Brands highly value direct consumer engagement,” according to YPB, which adds that this is being driven by “growth in remote Pan-Asian export customers, the decline of traditional marketing media and increased questioning of the effectiveness of spend on the two prominent digital channels.”

It goes on: “Confirmation of product authenticity is a powerful trigger to engagement – the vast majority of consumers will willingly scan a product with their smartphone to confirm its authenticity.”

YPB is already making revenues from other brand protection platforms that use printed codes, dedicated scanners to verify covert tracers or are based on near-field communication (NFC) enabled closures.

The company has just signed a three-year supply agreement with Indonesian pharmaceutical company PT Combiphar to use ProtectCode on additional products in its portfolio, extending an initial contract for cough syrup signed in 2016.

The new deal, estimated to be worth around A$1m ($690,000) over the duration of the agreement, comes after the YPB reported a 41 per cent drop in first-half revenues to $597,000, offset by lower costs and a reduced operating loss.

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