Trusted Tags: Is There a Better Way to Manage & Authenticate Things?


As the internet of things becomes more of a reality, HID Global was very excited to announce its new Trusted Tag™ services platform last month.

This new tag product and trust services platform will enable Near Field Communications (NFC) tracking, auditing and origination services that can be used, for example, to confer trust onto documents, protect consumers from counterfeit goods, and enable a multitude of other applications that involve interactions with things. I'd like to tell you a little more about what Trusted Tags are, and how they can be used to improve authentication security and convenience using contactless readers or any NFC-enabled smartphone.

One application is with official documents. Until now, paperwork ranging from marriage and birth certificates to college diplomas and deeds of trust had to be physically signed or notarized by someone acting in a trusted role. Unfortunately, these documents, themselves, have been at risk of forgery and duplication.

Another application is with certificates of authenticity and service warranties for expensive items such as high-end cars. Even if the service document is authentic, it can be difficult to track service history in order to, for example, confirm adherence to compliance requirements, and to perhaps prove that service was performed by an authorized provider to preserve resale value.

Another challenge has been monitoring and authenticating maintenance or service work, chain-of-custody procedures and usage and safety compliance for industrial equipment.

Perhaps there is also the need to more easily and reliably authenticate luxury products such as watches, and other unique items including original works of art, for insurance or provenance purposes.

All of these interesting applications show how interconnected and interactive our daily lives have become with things. Fortunately, the confluence of ubiquitous wireless networks, NFC tag technology and NFC smartphones allows us to solve this problem.

Everything changes with our new cloud-based Trusted Tag services platform. This platform enables authentication tags to be created and attached to an object or document with an electronically signed and cryptographically secure digital certificate of authenticity. The tags are impossible to clone or duplicate, and can also be embedded in an item or incorporated in tamper-resistant stickers that can also be attached to products and equipment. Users can verify authenticity with complete confidence at any time in the lifetime of the item carrying the tag. For artwork, the Trusted Tag services platform enables artists to simply "sign" their canvasses with a digitally encrypted NFC tag. Galleries, museums and auction houses can use Trusted Tags for a variety of purposes, from confirming provenance to recording restoration work to issuing insurance reports.

The HID Trusted Tag Services platform includes a variety of tags, inlays and card solutions as well as the HID Trusted Tag authentication transaction environment for issuing, managing and revoking tags.

At this time, HID is seeking qualified vertical application partners and developers to help develop specific use-case solutions based on this platform.

I am looking forward to the platform making a big difference in the way we manage our lives. It will accelerate and comingle the management of our interaction of physical objects with our already virtualized daily life of email, social media and other digital activities. Even better, users can instantly verify an item's authenticity wherever they are, using their smartphone, or even record a "like" for a thing. That's it: the Facebook of things.