One of the many uses of TentoIDs could be in the unambiguous identification of patients in hospitals.
Tento Tokens can also be used to identify counterfeit packaging.
A wide range of goods are subject to counterfeit, including pharmaceuticals, oils, fragrances, event tickets – in fact, any product where the value is high enough to make it worth the criminal’s time and cost to produce fakes. Identifying counterfeit items in the pharmaceutical market is especially important as lives are sometimes endangered.
The British think-tank, International Policy Network, estimates that globally, 700,000 deaths a year are caused by fake malaria and tuberculosis drugs—comparing the death toll with the equivalent of “four fully laden jumbo jets crashing every day.
In this use case, we can install a Tento token in the phone which can recognise millions of different codes printed on product packaging. The user (who may be a consumer or a secret shopper employed by the company whose products are being faked) scans the QR code printed on the packaging. A 4 or 5 character code is displayed on the phone screen. The user can compare this with a code printed on the packaging along with the QR code. If they are identical, the user can be sure that the packaging is genuine and that, therefore, so long as the packaging has not been tampered with, the contents also can be trusted. There is the possibility that the counterfeiter has purchased some genuine items and simply copied them, so the user should inspect several of the items to ensure that they are all different before trusting the results of the scan(s).
There are various technologies deployed in the fight against counterfeit goods, including RFID tokens, scratch panels and conventional barcodes. These are either too expensive to deploy generally or are easy for the counterfeiter to reproduce.
Tento Tokens can be deployed at zero marginal cost since they require only conventional digital printing.
It is important that the technology used to create the tokens and QR codes is kept secret since otherwise the counterfeiter could replicate them, as he does with conventional barcodes. Tento has never published details of all the cryptographic techniques we use, even though the underlying technology has been patented in the USA and the UK.
We are able to produce around 50 million unique QR codes and their associated pictographic codes from just one small token held in the phone. So when the consumer wants to use the system to verify the authenticity of a product (or at least, its packaging), he simply installs our app in his phone, along with the token that includes the codes for the particular product he wants to buy. In reality, one token will probably cover many different products, within a particular time-frame.
This use of Tento Tokens requires further R&D and we are keen to collaborate with companies whose products are subject to counterfeit. We are planning to apply for European funding under the Horizon 2020 SME scheme, so please contact us if you are willing to join with us in this programme.