Smartrac: NFC and Blockchain to Guarantee Authenticity of Covid-19 Test Kits

Smartrac and SUKU leverage NFC and blockchain to authenticate COVID-19 test kits and PPE.

Smartrac Circus Flex

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Smartrac, an Avery Dennison company, and blockchain startup SUKU, announced a digital verification system to authenticate COVID-19 testing kits and personal protective equipment (PPE). The NFC-powered platform enables instant verification of authenticity and provides end-to-end supply chain transparency. 

Counterfeit medical and pharmaceutical products are a huge challenge for the industry. Increasing confidence that testing kits and PPE are genuine is paramount to encouraging the adoption of testing amongst consumers. 

By equipping COVID-19 test kits and PPE with Smartrac’s CIRCUSTM NFC tags, the system utilizes Avery Dennison’s Digital Identity Platform to feed tag data to SUKU’s blockchain-based supply chain application. The data from the mobile engagement then confirms the authenticity and provenance of the tagged product, reassuring customers and increasing trust. Customers can also view their purchase price of PPE compared to the global average, providing transparency to help in the fight against price gouging.

The test kit system allows organizations to access real-time data from test kit results to make informed decisions on the allocation of doctors, facilities and resources. By opening a communication channel with healthcare officials, the solution will also provide patients with guidance on appropriate behavior in case of a positive test result. 

Pairing each physical item with a unique digital identity enables visibility of where the items are being distributed, which helps healthcare providers, governments and consumers make better, faster decisions based on access to real-time data. The verification of products can be utilized for audits.

The NFC tags that are blockchain enabled are technically impossible to clone, hence authenticity verification is guaranteed. The tag is applied directly to the packaging of the test kit or PPE. SUKU’s Tag Management platform simplifies seamless integration, fitting NFC-enablement into existing workflows—as the kit is assembled, the tags are included in as the last step when everything is packaged.

This system is among the latest contributions from Avery Dennison companies globally which are leading efforts across the supply chain to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic with advanced product innovation and increased manufacturing capacity, especially for essential medical and health-related products. 

“We are expecting positive effects on user experience and supply chain processes for labs, governments and organizations. Governments can make better, faster decisions with real time data pouring in from home test kits. This could enable medical resources to be deployed in high infection areas or raise awareness of infection hotspots so that additional measures can be taken by local authorities to combat the spread of infection,” explained  Amir Khoshniyati, NFC Business Lead, Avery Dennison Intelligent Labels.

“As providers around the world are working to quickly expand the availability of PPE and tests for COVID-19, it's important to build technology that's easy to adopt. Our goal is to offer a simple solution that doesn't require complex systems integration, providing the right transparency, provenance, supply availability, and real-time data needed using NFC tags enabled by the SUKU Blockchain,” said Yonathan Lapchik, CEO, SUKU.

High performance is essential to ensuring read reliability of the tag throughout the supply chain. Smartrac’s CIRCUS inlays and tags with NXP’s NTAG213 chip are designed to suit applications where small size and high performance are critical. They offer 144 bytes of user memory, and come with unique ID (UID) mirror functionality, which enables the chip serial number to be mirrored as part of its encoded URL address. This feature allows every tag to be seen and read as unique from the application perspective, without requiring users to encode inlays with different numbers.

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