3.1 Support to wineries
The wineries participating in the Followine ecosystem will benefit from a series of services that will certainly contribute to the growth of their business. In detail, Followine offers to member companies a tracking system aimed at detecting counterfeiting phenomena through the use of unique QR codes, randomly generated by a proprietary algorithm, applied to each individual bottle. The company that enters the Followine circuit, applying our QR codes on all the bottles of its production and activating those put on the market, allows us to start to trace them, and insert all the data related to the product in our system, including: type of grapes used, geographical area, harvest, manipulations and transformations, treatments carried out, bottling, etc. In addition, the manufacturer is subject to periodic, random checks on the chemical-physical properties of the products, made by Followine partners, in order to verify that the data entered by the manufacturer on the platform are true.
Right now, this system recognizes as many as 83 counterfeiting methods at the lower price on the market, and this makes the Followine system the most effective and efficient on the market.
3.2 Services for consumers
As already said on several occasions, the consumer is the real core of our project: thanks to his active participation, which translates into the scan of QR codes, Followine will be able to record the data needed to fight the phenomenon of counterfeiting. Precisely for this reason, we decided to encourage consumers offering certain features and prizes - through our app.In particolare, il consumatore potrà:
In particular, the consumer can:
Use tokens to purchase products from the marketplace and partners
In addition to our main service, wine producers and our partners will benefit from a range of additional services. In particular:
The advantages offered by Followine's services are varied and involve all the wine stakeholders.
3.5 Mobile App
Thanks to our free mobile app you can scan any QR code really fast.
To find out if a bottle of wine is authentic, simply scan the Followine QR on the rear bottle label.
Each scan has a prize, in order to involve users and thank them for their contribution to the fight against counterfeiting. Chart 3.2
November 2018 Italian Version
January 2019 International Version
3.6 The QR Code strategy
A QR code (Quick Response Code) is a two-dimensional barcode (or 2D code), that is a matrix, composed of black modules arranged within a square-shaped scheme. It is used to store information, which is generally intended to be read by a mobile phone or smartphone. Up to 7,089 numeric or 4,296 alphanumeric characters can be contained in a single cryptogram. Generally, the matrix format is 29x29 squares and contains 48 alphanumerics.
Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless communication system that allows the exchange of information in a safe and fast way. It is based on the use of common portable Smartphone terminals and a passive electronic component that does not require a power supply (chip with antenna) equipped with a memory available for programming. This chip, called TAG, can be assimilated to a label and can be applied in various shapes and colors on the most disparate supports. Through the simple approach of the Smartphone to the TAG, the user accesses a menu of choice of different links or contents related to the "tagged" object. Thanks to a high versatility and potential, the applications related to NFC are many: certain product identification and anti-counterfeiting process; advertising marketing; online orders and payments; as well as scheduled maintenance, security, supply chain control, and access control.
3.6.3 Why we choose the QR
The RFID technology, in particular in its Near-field communication (NFC) variant is certainly suitable for multiple applications that require the scanning of codes on which the scanner may not have a clear direct view. Could it also be used to protect wine from counterfeiting?
Let's see the numbers of our experiments:
10 cm Minimum distance to which the scanner must be placed, due to the shape of most of the bottle labeling machines,
98% correctly scanned codes, positioning the scanner on the same side of the NFC,
60% of the scanned codes correctly with the scanner positioned on the opposite side of the NFC on the bottle, due to the chemical-physical composition of the liquids - and in particular of the wine that creates problems to the propagation of the signal.
It is clear that one of the advantages offered by this technology, that is the possibility of automating reading processes even where there is no direct view, can not be guaranteed without invasive modifications to the equipment already held by wine producers. This would result in an increase in start-up costs, management costs, maintenance and would greatly decrease the scalability of the project.
50-year warranty for the life of an NFC tag
1 year the average life of a prosecco or white wine
2-4 years the average life of a good structured white wine
40 years the life of an excellent aging red wine
40 years the average life of a correctly printed label
0.01% of the bottles produced is sold after 30 years
It emerges that the durability advantage offered by the NFC in the wine sector would only be used in such a limited case that it is not relevant, also because the bottles inserted in the 0.01% are all collectible bottles, which are stored in a maniacal way by of the owners. As a consequence, even the ink would survive for a much longer time, for which clear indications are not available.
100% NFC correctly read after being immersed in seawater for 1 month
20% QR code read correctly after 1 month in seawater
90% NFC read correctly after being buried by sand for 2 months
90% QR code read correctly after a period of 2 months in the sand
70% NFC read after 2 months in the ice
60% QR read after 2 months in the ice
It is clear that ... would you really buy a bottle of wine stored in these conditions?
100% NFC read after 1 year in a wet cellar
100% QR read after 1 year in a wet cellar
€ 2,000.00 machines to start the production and coding of the QR
€ 55,000.00 machinery for coding and arrangement of NFCs in series
€ 250,000.00 machinery for the production of NFCs
It is clear that the initial costs and scaling up phase cost are absolutely not comparable.
100% NFC read after damaging the label slightly
90% NFC read after having severely damaged the label
95% QR read after having damaged the label in a slight way
20% QR read after having damaged the label in a serious way
It is clear that for small scratches or imperfections the QR decoding algorithm does a good job. As for serious damage to the label, with tearing of large portions of QR, the support on paper cannot compete with NFC that are damaged irretrievably only in a few cases.
0% possibility of modification of the QR
On the contrary, it is possible to modify the NFC codes even if the percentage in this sense is variable. Obviously, there are also NFCs with data entry blocking, but like any other computer system, we do not feel able to assure a 100% security even with reference to NFC with the aforesaid block.
So, even if minimal and difficult, the possibility of modifying an NFC is still present (unlike what happens with QR codes).
Copy of the codes
It is clear that in both cases it is possible to copy the codes registered in the support.
The copy process for NFC is certainly more expensive and difficult, while for the QR a camera and a printer capable of printing labels are enough.
For this reason, we have invested more than 1 year to solve the problem of copying, creating an algorithm able to discern a copied label. Turning the weakness of the QR support into the highest point of Followine. Why? Because we remind you that Followine is not only a mild deterrent to counterfeiting but an ecosystem able to fight to counterfeit itself, managing to go back to where and when it happened, allowing us to investigate to go back even to the author of the crime.
All this does not mean that if in future the demand for NFC will increase and the cost of production will be lowered, as if, in the meantime, a new technology that brings benefits to Followine will be presented, obviously the use of other different supports will be considered from the QR. Having foreseen this eventuality, we have created the entire anti-counterfeiting system completely disconnected from any technology, giving the system the maximum possible flexibility.
The ecosystem is based on our know-how, the experience gained by the team and the logical resolution of the various possible combinations of events, all factors that can be enhanced or not by a technology but not related to it. This is one of the key points of the objections raised by Followine towards other anti-counterfeiting projects.