Microdot Technology

A South Africa-based Company has launched an entirely locally-developed, superior microdot-tag and trace solution for vehicles and other high-value moveable assets, giving South Africans access to affordable, effective asset-identification technology that has the potential to curb the market for stolen goods by making theft and the resale of stolen property less viable for criminals.

They are one of only three providers of microdot tags for asset-identification in this country and aims to capture about 50 percent of the growing market in the short-term, with the goal of growing its market-share to 70 percent by 2012.

The company’s director, believes that there is a huge market for microdot technology in South Africa because it has significant potential to deter theft by limiting the local market for stolen goods. Securing the identity of assets is essentially the most effective tool to limit theft because it reduces their marketability, and microdot technology is one of the best ways of entrenching the identity of an asset because it provides indisputable proof of ownership and a level of asset-identification that simply makes the resale of stolen property less viable and less lucrative for criminals and syndicates.

“Local and international statistics show that the use of microdot technology to entrench the identity of vehicles leads to 50 to 60 percent decrease in the number of stolen and hijacked vehicles. That’s pretty impressive,” says the Director.

According to him, microdot technology, as a tool to reduce the marketability of stolen goods and deter theft, has gained widespread acceptance in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Russia.

In South Africa, the use of microdot technology is gaining momentum and as awareness grows, microdots (special polymer-based devices which can carry a unique identification number) are expected to become one of the most credible and affordable means of securing the identity of assets and deterring theft. The Company has spent over two years researching the market and refining its solution for local consumers and businesses.

The Company uses advanced nanotechnology to validate its locally-manufactured Micro Dots, making it impossible to copy or counterfeit their tags. Each batch is etched with a unique Asset Identification Number (AIN) and then mixed into a patented, resilient adhesive, ready for application across the areas of an asset.

The solution, which dries to a hard, transparent finish, contains an Ultraviolet (UV) sensitive material which glows when exposed to a UV light to indicate the presence of the microtags.

Although virtually undetectable to the naked eye, tiny Micro Dot’s etched with the unique AIN and spread inconspicuously across vehicles, office equipment, computers, furniture, jewellery and appliances, become powerful asset identifiers. The AIN is linked to a full description of all the assets related to it on a high-security web-based Asset Register.

The Asset Register offers level 4 security, which is the same level of security provided by banking websites. All information is stored off site, with full redundancy and real time backups. Only authorised users authenticated by means of username and password have access to the database. The Asset Register is easily accessible via the Web and can cope with unlimited data storage.

Customers can register their assets and manage their own asset register themselves online, or contact the call centre to do it for them.

Teams within the Law Enforcement agencies have been equipped with devices that enable them to check for microtags on vehicles and other high-value assets seized from criminals. The Microdot’s telltale signature and the unique AIN allow them to trace ownership via the International Register, increasing the chances of recovering lost and stolen assets.

The Company also has a whistle blowing aspect to it and people will be able to report suspected stolen property and assets anonymously via the website. This information will be acted on by private investigators, law enforcement agencies and insurers.

The Director points out that success of microdot tagging as a tool to deter and reduce theft depends on the wider adoption and acceptance of the technology by the SAPS, local consumers and businesses, and other relevant authorities.

The Company has been in consultation with these bodies and is working with them to drive further acceptance at all levels. There is also a growing interest in microdot technology from other industries including the insurance industry and financial services sector. Negotiations are currently underway with leading insurers to offer the Company’s solution as a value-added product.

“After nearly three years of intense research, planning and development, we are delighted to deliver our advanced tagging and trace solution to the market. We believe that our solution, which is both flexible in its application and affordable, will be welcomed by South Africans who want to protect what’s theirs and be proactive about fighting crime in this country,” concludes the director.