Nokia and SAP are forming a new company that will use their technologies to help manufacturers battle counterfeit products.
Announced Tuesday at SAP TechEd in Vienna, Original1 will offer services to better authenticate branded products and protect them from counterfeiting, the companies said in a statement.
Offering software as a service (SaaS), Original1 will draw on a combination of SAP's supply-chain technology and Nokia's mobile authentication software. Nokia and SAP will each own 40 percent of the business, while German firm Giesecke & Devrient (G&D) will own the remaining 20 percent and add the security and encryption component.
The service will target products that are especially vulnerable to counterfeiting, such as pharmaceuticals and luxury goods, G&D spokesman Stefan Waldenmaier said. Other items, such as auto parts and software, could also benefit from the service, he said.
At this point, the service can only work with physical products, not electronic items. So, for example, Original1 could protect boxed software but not downloadable media.
Here's how it works: branded products will be electronically tagged with smart, tamper-proof barcodes, allowing the manufacturer to track them using a Nokia smartphone as they move from factory to store shelf. A retailer can then check the product information against a database and determine whether the data is coming from a legitimate product.
Located in Frankfurt, Germany, Original1 will be run by Claudia Alsdorf, currently the vice president of SAP Research.
"Counterfeiting is a worldwide problem that is increasing and affecting many successful companies in all industries," Alsdorf said in a statement. "Today, more than ever, companies need to combat counterfeiting before it's too late, when their company livelihood is at stake."
SAP has already run pilot tests of the new service with some of its customers and said the testing has been successful.
Nokia and SAP have a history of working together on mobile projects. Nokia is an SAP global technology partner, while SAP is a Nokia Enterprise Zone member.
Subject to regulatory approval, Original1 is expected to open its doors before year's end.
In the video below from SAP, Alsdorf talks about the new company: