Countering Counterfeit with NeuroTags
Have you ever consumed a product like a soft drink or purchased a bag only to realize that it is only a close counterfeit of the original? More than the annoyance, it is often frightening to think that you might have exposed yourself to unknown chemicals. The steady ascent in the growth of counterfeit products has formed a negative effect in the world market. While containing tremendous business potential, India stands as a major market for counterfeit products. Counterfeiting is spread across all sectors like pharma, retail, FMCG, etc. From toothpaste to aspirin, to high end handbags, counterfeit products seem to be everywhere. The problem arises when the businesses are unable to track down this market and collect their end-consumer data and are unable to monitor the distribution network.
The Tech Panda spoke to Nitin Gupta, Co-founder, CEO, and CTO of NeuroTags, which is giving solutions for counterfeits and fake. It prevents customers from buying the fake product by scanning the tag placed on the product which also gives them referral and loyalty points. These points can then be used for getting discounts on further purchases.
Gupta says they got inspired when watching a documentary about how big a problem counterfeit products are, especially in the area of pharmaceuticals, where counterfeit medication has claimed many lives.
“In our day to day life, we are not sure whether items are original or fake. And there is no way for us to know or actually verify it. So we thought there should be some way of doing it. We researched on the internet but did not find anything concrete. Then we brainstormed and came up with a mathematical solution to solve this problem. Then we decided how to convert it to a usable solution that can be used by the general public. We wanted to make it based on the smartphone. That is when we started designing the system and took one year to develop it. And then in January 2018, we launched it,” he says.
NeuroTags provides mathematically coupled tags, open and protected. The open tags are visible on the product and can be scanned by anyone to get the information of the product and an indication of authenticity with certain probability. After a product is purchased, the user has access to the protected tag, which in turn is protected by a scratch layer, or is kept inside the product seal. After scanning the protected tag using the smartphone, a user gets the authentic information with certainty.
Also, the user can avail warranty, loyalty, and referral points after scanning this tag. The tags are connected and protected by algorithms on the server in such a way that, if anyone tries to replicate the tags, it gets caught and the copied product gets invalidated.
“On a normal smartphone, the user can just open the camera and point it to the QR code to check all the information, to find out whether it is authentic or not,” Gupta explains.
Block chain, Artificial Intelligence and patent-pending algorithms are the key technologies which help in development of NeuroTags. The idea of NeuroTags was conceptualised after months of research of past solutions, existing practices, future technologies and talking to lot of small, medium and large business enterprises.
NeuroTags provides solutions that are not only offering brand protection and counterfeit prevention, but the concept is also acting as a platform to showcase products. It also provides paperless warranty and customer support with loyalty and referral programs for a brand’s customers and middlemen. It also provides customized track and trace solution and automation of business intelligence, while tracking and analytics of consumer behavior data.
NeuroTags was launched in Pune in January 2017 by the team of three techies, Nitin Gupta, Yogesh Miharia, and Abhishek Agarwal, who all have worked in the hard-core tech and start-up sector.
Gupta being the CEO and CTO at NeuroTags, is responsible for overall business, software and tech space. His job also involves responsibility of developing and implementing newer technologies for the brand NeuroTags. At NeuroTags he is also responsible for the product development and R&D. An ardent technology professional, he is well versed with the technology and development segments related to AI, algorithms and block chain.
Gupta says it was quite a challenge trying to introduce this complicated product to the market. “Since it was something new in the market, it was very difficult for us to convince them that it really works, and for that, we had to go give many demonstrations. The mathematical concept behind this and how it is like really secure and really grocery store concrete was difficult to explain. However, once we started getting traction from one or two places, and it became much easier for them to consider us,” he says.
NeuroTags is currently focusing on sales and are getting a good response in the market. They are also expanding into the US market, and in two years’ time, want to pilot the product in China and other Asian countries.
TezMinds is the parent company of NeuroTags, a company that provides technological support to businesses with the help of services like design and architecture, technical consultation, development and support, infrastructure management, mining and analytics and AI for Business Insights. The founders of TezMinds have worked with leading technology companies like Amazon, Yahoo, PayPal, Cognizant, Bank of America in Bay Area and India before starting this venture.
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