Revolutionizing Supply Chains and Combating Illegal Logging: An Interview with Tagbase CEO Manuel Mertl

Emily: Good morning, Manuel. Thank you for joining us today.

Manuel Mertl: Good morning, thank you for having me.

Emily: Let’s dive right in. TAGBASE is gaining recognition for its cutting-edge counterfeiting solutions. Could you start by explaining what TAGBASE does and what makes it unique?

Manuel Mertl: Absolutely. At TAGBASE, we’ve developed a solution that gives physical objects an uncopyable identity using NFC tags. These tags can be verified by anyone with an NFC-capable device and internet access, without the need for a dedicated app. This is our unique selling proposition, or USP. It means our technology is accessible and easy to use for everyone, ensuring the authenticity and traceability of goods throughout the supply chain.

Emily: That sounds impressive. How does this technology play a crucial role in supply chain solutions, especially in sectors like deforestation and commodities where origin and authenticity are major concerns?

Manuel Mertl: The importance of our technology in supply chain solutions cannot be overstated. Traditional tracking methods, while useful, often fail to bridge the gap between digital records and the physical world. Our NFC tags ensure that the physical items themselves can be directly and unequivocally verified. For example, in combating deforestation, our tags can be attached to timber. When a tree is harvested, the initial tag is attached. As the timber is processed and its form changes, new tags are added, each linked to the previous one. This way, the entire journey from the tree in the forest to the final product can be tracked, ensuring origin and legitimacy can be verified at any point.

Emily: Many companies focus on digital tracking from start to finish. Why is it not sufficient without a solution like TAGBASE’s?

Manuel Mertl: Digital tracking alone can be prone to discrepancies and fraud. If the physical items can be swapped or counterfeited, the digital records become meaningless. Our solution ensures that the physical and digital identities of goods are perfectly synchronized. This means that stakeholders can trust the entire lifecycle of the product, knowing that the physical item they are handling is exactly what the digital record says it is.

Emily: Can you give us an example of how a typical verification process works with TAGBASE’s NFC tags?

Manuel Mertl: Certainly. Imagine a consumer wanting to verify the authenticity of a high-end product. They simply tap their NFC-capable smartphone to the product’s tag. The tag connects to our cloud service, which verifies the tag’s unique identity and returns information about the product’s origin, journey through the supply chain, and any certifications it holds. This whole process takes just a few seconds and provides immediate, reliable information without the need for any special apps or equipment.

Emily: That level of transparency is crucial for many industries. How does blockchain integration fit into your overall strategy?

Manuel Mertl: We’re indeed looking into blockchain integration to provide an additional layer of digital ownership proof. However, it’s important to note that blockchain is not necessary for product authenticity itself. Many companies claim product authenticity through blockchain, but this approach is often overcomplicated and unnecessary for the verification process. Our NFC tags already provide a robust and secure way to ensure authenticity. The blockchain integration will enhance our solution by offering immutable proof of ownership, which can be valuable for high-value and collectible items.

Emily: What’s next for TAGBASE? How do you see the technology evolving in the next few years?

Manuel Mertl: We’re constantly innovating and looking to expand the applications of our technology. One significant aspect is the detailed statistics and data our tags can generate. For example, we can provide data on the location of scans, which can offer valuable insights. If certain wood species are scanned more frequently in specific areas, it might indicate issues like illegal logging or supply chain inefficiencies. These statistics can help businesses make informed decisions and identify potential problems before they escalate.

Emily: It sounds like TAGBASE has a bright future ahead. Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience today?

Manuel Mertl: Just that we’re excited to be at the forefront of solving a critical problem in global supply chains. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for everyone to verify the authenticity of the products they interact with, ultimately fostering greater trust and transparency across industries. Thank you for having me today.

Emily: Thank you, Manuel, for sharing your insights and explaining how TAGBASE is revolutionizing supply chain solutions. We look forward to seeing your continued success.

Manuel Mertl: Thank you, it’s been a pleasure.

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