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PA patents technology which authenticates QR codes by smartphone

QR code

London: PA Consulting Group has patented a new technology that allows consumers to instantly confirm the authenticity of luxury goods, tickets and other items via their smartphone.

PA has pioneered a new approach, in which a continuously changing QR code is attached to a product, device or ticket; the code can then be read and verified by the consumer upon purchase using a smartphone application. Each incarnation of the code is only valid for a specific time frame — seconds, minutes or hours, depending on the use — making it virtually impossible for fraudsters to copy. Previously, QR codes were unsuitable for secure authentication purposes, as the codes are easy to copy and duplicate.

PA says its system can bring immediate benefits in many areas where security, authenticity, traceability or validity is of significance to the supplier and to the end user, particularly in areas such as consumer products, ticketing, transport, supply chain and pharmaceuticals.

Potential uses for the QR authentication system include:

  • product authenticity
  • ticketing for transport and events
  • advertising and promotions
  • real-time lotteries and prize events
  • on-packet promotional campaigns.

Steve Crammond, communications expert at PA Consulting Group, says, "Up to 10 per cent of all worldwide technology products are counterfeit, and this is an issue that costs the semiconductor industry in the US an estimated $7.5 billion a year. It is also estimated that annually over $200 billion of international trade is lost through counterfeit or pirated products. Counterfeiting has huge implications for many sectors including manufacturing, logistics and the pharmaceutical industry. Our dynamic QR system is a highly effective and very accessible tool that could significantly reduce the impact of counterfeiting across many sectors."

PA's innovation combines the concepts of machine readable codes and a time changing authentication system to produce an authentication scheme which can be applied to any machine readable code such as 2D barcodes, 3D barcodes and QR codes.

PA is in discussion with a number of potential partners who are interested in utilising Dynamic QR technology to protect their businesses from the far-reaching effects of fraud.

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