Guaranteeing Authenticity with QR Codes

I recently purchased a new set of nylon guitar strings from my local shop. I typically select a made in USA brand such as LaBella or in this case, D’Addario. When I removed the inner sealed plastic bag, I was intrigued with their “Authenticty Guarantee.” D’Addario wanted me to make sure I would be playing real, genuine, D’Addario strings. And, if they found out my purchase was counterfeit, they would send me an authentic set of strings at no charge.

QR Code Scan

Beneath the guarantee there was a printed serial number, the EJ45 model number, and a QR Code. As you probably know by now, a QR code is a special kind of barcode that typically holds more information and has been gaining popularity since anyone with a smartphone now has the ability to scan a product package for more details. Once I scanned the QR code with my smartphone, it immediately took me to their site, and auto populated the serial number into a field. After a view moments, a new screen appeared and asked me to confirm that the model number was EJ45. Once I clicked ok, I was then informed that my set had been registered, and my strings were authentic. Yahoo!

Database Serial Number Look-up

So evidently, D’Addario has set up a database that includes every set of their serialized string sets. The QR code contains a link to their web site, along with the serial number. Once on their site, the database will look for the serial number match, look to its corresponding model number, and then ask to confirm that model number. I see a lot of potential with this technology for the musical instruments themselves, as some counterfeiters have perfected their craft to the point where it is nearly impossible to know if an instrument truly is the brand the end-user is paying for.

New Uses for QR Codes

This is a good start to help with anti-counterfeiting. It links the manufacturer directly to the end-user, which I think will be required when the pharmaceutical companies start adopting this method. In reality, drug companies should have been the first to utilize the QR code technology this way. Have you seen any similar applications that utilize QR codes to help prevent counterfeiting? What are some other tracking applications that may be able to utilize QR codes? If your idea is unique, it could make you famous!

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