RealTag was founded in early 2014 by David McGee. As part of his MBA, David investigated the economic and human costs of counterfeiting and as a result he was determined to develop a solution. David passionately believed that people should be personally empowered to check if a product is genuine. He believed the smart phone should be the tool for that empowerment. RealTag’s team was completed with the arrival of Mike Le Quelenec and Scott Goodwin. The team set out with the purpose of developing a technology that is both easy for the consumer to use and is practically impossible for counterfeiters to copy.
There were a number of challenges for the RealTag team to overcome. They needed to develop a solution that would work on both iOS and Android smart phones and had to produce a tag or label that could be attached to products or materials that could be read by a smartphone but not easily copied. RealTag were successful in securing some support from Innovate UK and the European Space Agency to develop the idea into a proof of concept and that is when RealTag approached the WMG SME group to see if any of WMG’s capabilities could be brought in to support the prototype.
Within WMG’s SME group, there are experts in manufacturing, materials and digital systems. Innovation Manager, Dr Milne has a background in developing materials for the defence sector and worked with RealTag to identify a suitable materials concept that could be used for the tag. Piero Filippin, Innovation Manager with a background in software engineering helped the team to embed a smartphone camera application into the product that resulted in the tag being able to be read by various smartphone devices. He then went on to develop the appropriate cloud infrastructure system that would support the management of the data involved in the anti-counterfeiting product once it scales up and starts to be used by different customer groups.
We support the SMEs who have a desire to make existing or new products smarter through the use of digital tools and techniques. Our strong manufacturing expertise means we can support SMEs to take a smart product idea right through from prototype to manufacture
Dr Paul Milne, Innovation Manager, WMG, University of Warwick
As a result of the collaboration, RealTag now have a proof of concept product that they can test and develop with potential clients. They have partnered up with the European Space Agency to explore the possibility of bringing space technology into the product and have filed for a patent with the UK’s Intellectual Property Office. RealTag has also attracted substantial investment from experienced Angel investors to take the product forward. For the first time in history people have the tool in their pocket to check if a good is genuine. With RealTag’s innovative and secure technology, the smart phone provides the tool to check if a good is genuine.