Dutch design label Moooi will give each of its products a unique digital identity that buyers can access by scanning with a mobile app, to instantly verify the object's authenticity.
Customers can download the Moooi app to their smartphone, and scan a small round button with a flowery design that will be attached to all Moooi products, to ascertain whether it is an original design or a knock-off.
The device is called The Button; it contains a wireless chip. Moooi has described it as "a tiny digital superhero that provides Moooi products with an authentic digital identity". The Button works with near-field communication (NFC) technology, comparable to that used in contactless payment. NFC technology enables communication between two electronic devices (one of which is usually a smartphone) over a small distance of just a few centimetres.
When scanning the button, the app will confirm immediately whether the customer is buying an authentic Moooi piece, helping their clients in the face of a growing number of counterfeits or copies.
The Moooi app is available for Apple and Android smartphones. The app can give information on the product by scanning a wireless chip within The Button.
"Design brands and designers deserve protection to keep creating new products and investing in marketing their designs," said Jan Haarhuis, a specialist in customer experience at Moooi. Currently, many firms are sticking holograms on their products and relying on customs control border forces checking these to prevent copies of original designs from invading the market. Some brands are resorting to using DNA spray on their products that can be tested at customs to prove an item's provenance.
"It's a real problem that's so bad that we see bad Chinese copies on Alibaba before we do an initial launch. That's how crazy it actually is, and they're done in a really bad way,” said Haarhuis.
The Button will allow shoppers to purchase Moooi furniture and lighting in the knowledge that they're not being tricked into buying a fake, and as such "is a personal safe-keeper of investing in authentic design."