UPC Alternative? Digital Watermarks

The UPC is getting a makeover.  Digimarc Corp. has partnered with GS1, the company that oversees UPCs, to bring unique digital identifiers to product packaging.  Currently used on everything from driver’s licenses to money, digital watermarks are expected to save time in the supply chain and in retail.   This is because digital watermarks are printed all over the product packaging, rather than in one location.  Scanners and smartphones can simply be pointed in the direction of the product, instead of locating the bar code and scanning.  This will help with inventory location, counting, and speed up point-of-sale transactions.

GS1 and Digimarc are excited about the partnership and the benefits it will bring to product manufacturers, especially the ability of the marks to help prevent counterfeits.  Detailed information is required to register for and obtain such a mark, meaning consumers will be able to rapidly access more information about the product, through the use of their own smartphones.  The companies anticipate that the digital watermarks will be used in conjunction with traditional UPCs for a period, until the digital watermark software is widely adopted.

To read more on the topic, check out The Wall Street Journal’s article here.