· Authentix - Forensic signature inks to print barcodes and enable authentication, authentication of product via serial code and covert technology at multiple points in the supply chain
· Ingenia Technology - Laser Surface Authentication
· Domino Printing Sciences - 2D barcode printing
· GIS/EGO - RFID tags
· Imsol and Loughborough University - High speed reading of multiple barcodes
· Camdata - Handheld RFID and barcode readers
· AND Automation - Manufacturing automation and control systems
· Pera Innovation - Business process consultants
Including a Customer as a Member Makes This a Different Kind of Coalition
This alliance is different from California Express, because it includes a customer. This is an interesting and possibly shrewd move. By including the customer, as well as a university, it gives the group more of the appearance of an industry consortium, rather than a "bunch of vendors who've cobbled together a solution." Still, there is no expressed intention for this to be any sort of standards body or actual industry organization. It may be simply a way to try to bring the voice of the customer more directly into the coalition from the inside, rather than from the outside. It will be interesting to see if SecureTrace can entice more companies to join; to not only become customers of the group, but also lend their name and reputation to the consortium as members.
Branding Seems to Target the End Consumer
It is noteworthy that the press release and branding highlights pharmaceutical safety, rather than anti-counterfeiting or diversion prevention. Of course they are related, but the difference in spin is significant. Drug companies care about anti-counterfeiting for reasons of both revenue loss and upholding their brand reputation, and they care about diversion to prevent reduced profitability. However, those issues are not central for the end consumer who cares more about safety. So it seems that the branding is aimed more at the customers' customers (i.e. the end consumers), rather than at SecureTrace's customer (the drug companies). It is unclear though, whether SecureTrace will make the considerable investment needed to create (and sustain over a long period of time) the public's awareness of their brand, in order to create brand pull from end consumers. (We wrote a short piece about the challenges of succeeding at an "Intel Inside" branding approach).
Multi-layered Approach Enables High-confidence Authentication Across the Supply Chain
A central tenet in security is that if you want strong protection, you need multiple layers of security (e.g. the lock on the exterior doors to the building + lock on the lab + locked cabinet... or biometric + password + smart card). This consortium brings together a novel mix of technologies to achieve that higher level of security.
If You Build it, Will They Come?
California Express lost a lot of momentum once the deadlines for compliance were pushed out. Regulatory compliance can be a driver of adoption, but it is unpredictable and usually very slow. So, the real question is whether SecureTrace can convince pharmaceutical companies about the brand benefits and performance improvements from adopting their solution. We will stay tuned and let you know.