Alitheon: Optical AI for Product Supply Chain Tracing

Roei Ganzarski, CEO of Alitheon
Roei Ganzarski, CEO of Alitheon, shares how its optical AI solutions benefit manufacturers by providing superior traceability throughout the supply chain

Please introduce yourself and your role 

My name is Roei Ganzarski, and I currently serve as the CEO of Alitheon, an optical AI company that offers FeaturePrint – a solution for no-touch serialization. By enabling irrefutable identification of physical items, companies globally can trace their products throughout their lifecycle, eliminate counterfeits and stop gray market activity.

I have the pleasure of working with a group of talented and passionate people that all work hard to support our customers with transparency, traceability, and trust. There is a reason this team and their hard work was identified by TIME Magazine as one of the best inventions in 2023.

Why is product traceability an important concern for manufacturers? 

Transparent traceability creates trust. And trust is a foundational aspect of any business.

When a customer (be it a business or a consumer) buys your product, how do they know that what they are getting is indeed what they are paying for.

Traceability is what assures that.

Lack of transparent traceability can lead to direct costs including lost profits or excess product waste resulting from recalls – when the origin of an issue can’t be fully traced, more items may need to be recalled, repaired, or discarded than necessary.

Other direct costs of poor product traceability include replacement costs for lost items, storage costs when parts don’t arrive on time, and late penalties to customers.

Perhaps even more damaging to manufacturers are indirect costs related to the deterioration of brand trust and customer loyalty – two significant byproducts of poor traceability that inevitably lead to long-term impacts on the bottom line.

Poor traceability also opens the door for bad actors to introduce fraudulent goods into the supply chain, further harming brand reputation and consumer safety.

As the first touchpoint in the lifecycle of a product, manufacturers have an important responsibility to implement traceability technologies that enhance product integrity and assure customer trust and safety. 

How is ensuring product authenticity becoming more challenging in today's supply chain?

Today’s supply chains are increasingly complex; items are shipped all over the world with numerous touch points and changes of custody.

These include storage, repackaging, assembly and disassembly locations. Many of these custody changes are digital, resulting in less control and oversight. Sales points are also increasingly digital with multiple channels to market, some of which are legitimate, but many of which may be fraudulent.

Today’s $3 trillion counterfeit and gray market goods issue highlights a significant gap between the authentication and tracing technologies of yesterday and the demands of today.

The identification technologies currently used haven’t kept up with the pace, complexity, and diversity of today’s supply chains, leaving critical, and dangerous, questions around whether or not items are in fact legitimate. 

What AI technologies are emerging to ensure product traceability and authenticity? 

Optical AI and machine vision are enabling global manufacturers to better connect individual items with their data, enabling greater transparency, traceability, and trust across industries.

For example, using a photo, our patented FeaturePrint optical AI software “sees” and converts the minute surface details of physical items into a unique mathematical identity.

Similar to a human’s fingerprint, the FeaturePrint is unique, persistent, and inherent so there is no need for any type of proxy like etching a number, adding a QR code or barcode, or affixing some sort of taggant. The item itself is its own identifier.

FeaturePrint leverages optical AI to securely link the physical and digital worlds, allowing companies to identify, authenticate, and trace individual items – distinguishing individual items out of millions of so-called identical objects.

The result is a unique ‘fingerprint’ for each object, enabling irrefutable identification in the same way that a fingerprint does for a human.

Unlike additive authenticators commonly used today like barcodes, serial numbers, and stickers, these ‘fingerprints’ can’t be manipulated or faked, and establish full provenance for individual items.

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How will these technologies enhance manufacturing operations and help secure the supply chain?

Tracing products at the item level and recording their origin and live data throughout their lifecycle is the right thing to do from a security, reliability, and sustainability standpoint – curbing waste, protecting brands and consumers, and reducing the direct and indirect costs of poor traceability. 

Tackling the growing issue of fraudulent goods worldwide starts with rethinking serialization for the modern digital era, enabling full transparency, traceability, and trust.

By serializing products at the point of manufacture in a way that they cannot be tampered with, manipulated, or counterfeited, you give control back to manufacturers and brands and protect consumers from the far reaching consequences of fraud.

The reduction in counterfeit goods will greatly enhance public safety, especially in critical sectors such as healthcare, aviation, and automotive, where fraudulent products can mean the difference between life and death. 

When this AI technology is integrated, what role must partners and stakeholders play?

Partners and stakeholders have to continue the chain of trust started by the manufacturer.

So at every touch point, or at least at the points of custody change, items should be imaged so that the transparent and irrefutable lifecycle is maintained.

What broader impact will this AI technology have on the manufacturing sector?

Advances in optical AI technology and camera hardware are enabling manufacturers to move beyond antiquated methods of serialization that rely heavily on physical proxy identifiers such as serial numbers and barcodes that can be easily manipulated or faked.

As initiatives like the Digital Product Passport in the EU and FSMA204 for food traceability in the U.S. move forward to foster sustainability, transparency, and data circularity in the lifecycle of a physical product, manufacturers are looking to technology to better connect items with their data.

By using optical AI to inextricably link an item with its identifying data, the risk of fraud and human error is dramatically reduced, if not eliminated entirely. 

Not only will FeaturePrint enhance security and enable full traceability, it will also bolster sustainability efforts by removing the need for packaging waste, like stickers, adhesives, ink, and paper that end up in landfills. 

What are Alitheon's plans for the next twelve months?

Alitheon is continuing to expand with customers and partnerships across a number of industries including automotive, pharmaceuticals, aerospace and defense, medical equipment, precious metals, and luxury goods and collectibles.

With FeaturePrint, consumers will gain greater confidence in the authenticity of their purchases, while manufacturers can safeguard their supply chains against growing counterfeit infiltration. 

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