The Internet of Your Things: It’s Security That Matters...
Digitizing your products allows you to digitize your business – enabling opportunities you probably haven’t even dreamt of yet. Information assurance is what prevents dreams from turning into nightmares.
There is no doubt that RFID transponders, including NFC, offer companies a powerful technology for connecting simple physical things like automotive spare parts, apparel or soccer balls to the digital world.
To achieve that, RFID is embedded in or attached to the products – which is fine but not sufficient. The physical item must also have a corresponding digital identity that is truly unique and inseparable on a per-item basis.
SMARTRAC’s enablement platform Smart Cosmos manages the collection of authentic, unified data throughout the entire RFID-enabled product lifecycle. It is this important end-to-end utilization of the digital product data that is enabling new business opportunities, which could otherwise be not realized. However, data authenticity must be ensured at every stage: that’s why data assurance is one key element of satisfactory product utilization, and it all starts with the ‘birth’ of the RFID transponder.
Providing Secure ‘Birth’ Data for Every Tag and Inlay
In a tour de force that lasted three years, SMARTRAC upgraded its factories to ensure that each and every inlay or tag produced has a unique set of transponder production data stored in the Smart Cosmos product data layer, which is accessible to Internet of Things-based solutions.
The production data set – of which there were no less than 2.5 billion to be processed per year – typically contains the digital identity of the transponder as well as production-specific data and quality assurance information. This demands the strictest requirements in terms of information assurance: If the RFID technology that is used to create the bridge between the simple thing and its digital data cannot be trusted, then neither can anything that follows later during the product’s lifecycle.
The transponders’ birth data, the databases in the factories and in the Cloud, the connections and access points to these databases – they all need an absolutely reassuring level of security to provide a solid basis for product authentication and the provision of exclusive content to users of authentic products.
Security Expertise at Work
Since it is virtually impossible to talk in detail about security without endangering it, we can’t go into too much detail here. But we can say that SMARTRAC is building on the extensive knowledge and expertise gained from security and payment businesses, as well as comprehensive quality management, to provide this rock-solid level of assurance and security.
Furthermore, data assurance will only become more important as technology advances. For example, new ICs that use token-based authentication are drastically increasing the demands placed on data security, while offering massive potential in terms of product authentication and the protection of exclusive content used to incentivize customer loyalty.
Developed by leading semiconductor manufacturers, these ICs provide state-of-the-art authentication, generating one-time authentication tokens each time an NFC-enabled mobile device is tapped on the NFC tag. With each tap, the tag creates a new, unique portion of the URL it is transmitting. Since that link cannot exist twice, it is now possible, for the very first time, to distinguish between a link that was created by tapping on the tag and a link that was copied, pasted and shared.
Tapped or Copied? React Accordingly!
To leverage that ability, SMARTRAC has used its strong, global R&D resources to create a web service that utilizes its cloud-based solutions suite Smart Cosmos. This web service verifies the unique digital identity of any NFC tag that sends a tokenized web link to a NFC-enabled smartphone that in turn passes the link on to a website either maintained by the brand owner or by SMARTRAC on its behalf. By being able to verify each link, the brand owner will be able to react appropriately to the situation, providing content that can be changed according to current events, data, metadata, rules, or other data sources.
Limitless Opportunities – Based on Reliable Information
Brand product manufacturers can now effectively fight counterfeiting with product authentication functionalities, and provide their customers with gated, exclusive content through their existing websites. And that is just the starting point as possibilities are limitless, as long as the product and transponders’ birth data is secure and 100% trustworthy.
The good news is that brand owners no longer need to worry about information assurance: SMARTRAC can take care of it now for them.