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Smart wine bottle enabled for brand protection

Smart wine bottle enabled for brand protection
Anti-counterfeiting NFC tag is launching in China on Ferngrove's bottled wines.

The launch of the industry’s first “smart wine bottle” using near-field communication (NFC) electronics  based on Thin Film Electronics ASA patent-pending NFC OpenSense  tags was announced last week in a partnership with the G World Group ( and its SAMSCAN anti-counterfeiting process.

It is timed to follow the Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2015 when the two organizations will conduct a live field trial in collaboration with Ferngrove Wine Group (FWG), a Chinese-owned, Western Australia supplier of five-star red wine to the APAC region. FWG exports 600,000+ bottles annually to China where it operates more than 50 retail outlets.

Ferngrove has positioned the tag close to the top of the bottle, “but others could place the tag under the wine label,” saysKai Leppänen, Thinfilm chief commercial officer. “Tag placement really depends on the brand and how they want to position it.”

For example, the recent Diageo use of the technology displayed a "wireless" icon and included text that said "tap here to find out the latest from Johnnie Walker." See Johnnie Walker ‘smart bottle’ performs for consumers and supply chain, published March 2015.

“It’s up to the brand as to how they'd like to communicate the functionality,” Leppänen tells Packaging Digest. “We assume other brands will take a similar approach. In addition to messaging on the bottle, brands could also have signage in the product display area that notifies consumers of the functionality and pulls them in.”

Tags are approximately 1-inch in diameter, though there is some flexibility in size and shape of the antenna, he adds. The tag contains unique identifiers to authenticate and track products with the tap of an NFC-enabled smartphone or device.

“Application of the tag typically occurs during manufacturing process at the time of bottling and label application,” Leppänen says, “but it depends on how the brand wants to manage this process.”

G World has placed a 1,000,000+ unit order for the tags in conjunction with the Ferngrove field trial.

“The G World system is designed to enhance trade and productivity for industry,” said Grant Shaw, G World’s managing director. “One of the significant outcomes is an anti-counterfeit framework that provides transparency and accountability at all stages of the supply chain. We’re excited to leverage Thinfilm’s technology and believe this solution will be of real value to brand producers as well as consumers that demand authentic products.”

More information can be found in the press release at the Thinfilm website.

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