Global threats set to continue push for brand protection devices

Global threats are set to continue to push demand for authentication and brand protection devices such as holograms predicts a leading global industry trade body.
The International Hologram Manufacturers Association, which will be marking its 25th anniversary in 2018, sees increased integration of holograms alongside other authentication and track and trace technologies to deliver overt and covert protection. This will only strengthen holography’s role in tax stamp programmes in the next 12 months, combatting the multi-billion global trade in illicit or counterfeit tobacco and alcohol products.
While Europe and North America will continue to offer opportunity, it’s in the hot spots of Asia, where counterfeiting appears systemic, that offers massive commercial potential.

IHMA chair Manoj Kochar said: “Countries across Asia, notably India and China, will continue to offer unprecedented scope for growth for holograms in the battle to stem the tide of counterfeit goods flooding onto the market.
“We will continue to see over the coming months increased integration of holograms in these territories as part of brand protection strategies being adopted by government and security agencies looking to tackle the problem.”

This will see the IHMA set to build on its work with the Chinese authorities to address the problems. Such moves will protect those retail brands destined for export markets against the threat of counterfeit criminals and organised crime.

“Counterfeiting cannot be defeated in isolation, so collaboration with the likes of the IHMA will be paramount,” adds Manoj Kochar. “What we offer in terms of helping to tackle counterfeiting particularly with the use of the Hologram Image Register, has to be a welcome priority.
“International communication, open-mindedness and closer collaboration will be beneficial as we move forward, helping us to tackle and solve this problem together.”

This will include added value authentication solutions, as advocated in ISO 12931, to enable examiners to verify the authenticity of a legitimate product, differentiating it from the counterfeits.
Even those that carry a ‘fake’ authentication feature can be distinguished from the genuine item if it carries a carefully thought-out authentication solution.
The arrival of new banknotes in 2018, including the new Armenian series, new notes from Canada and Australia and the new Swiss 200 Franc, will only strengthen holography’s central role as a cutting-edge security device.
Holography will continue to hold up well in comparison with other optical variable features in the currency market, says Manoj Kochar – and will endure for the foreseeable future.

He says: “The use of polymer notes is growing and will benefit from holographic security features that will continue to reassure both central banks and the public about currency authenticity.
“Some of the holographic features in more traditional paper substrates will also continue to push the boundaries of what the technology can now achieve, demonstrating that there is plenty of mileage in holography yet.
“In addition, 2018 will also herald the Reserve Bank of India’s choice of selected products and providers for holographic security foils on banknotes, with approximate annual volumes of eight billion units.”

Holograms for ID, where innovations linked to digital applications, packaging and tax stamps, are all tipped for continued growth.

“We have seen holographic features on ID documents grow hugely over the last few years, and there’s now a suite of products that incorporate ‘opto-digital’ functionality,” says Manoj Kochar.
“Eye-catching holograms add design appeal to brand packaging, so 2018 will see extended success in a sector where companies have to invest in new products or refresh existing brands to meet consumer demand.”

The IHMA also predicts more activity for holographic optical elements (HOE) – an exciting area of opportunity for holography.

Manoj Kochar says we will see organisations exploring holography technologies for new wearable head-up displays and other smart devices to enhance people’s lives: “While we have seen some fantastic industrial uses of this technology, we are yet to see significant consumer adoption, mainly due to price. Will 2018 be the year that changes this?”

With LEDs in use as vehicle rear lights and brake lights, HOEs are being used to enhance the emitted light while they also have an important role in vehicle instrumentation and improving the image on small and large format LCD and OLED displays.
The application of holography in solar energy harvesting could also be an area to watch in the coming years as holographic mass production technology gains traction, which will help to decrease the cost of solar panels and improve efficiency.

“Display holograms, which are often overlooked and a small sector within the holographic market also possess growth potential, so 2017 could well see activity in this sector starting to gain some traction,” concludes Manoj Kochar.

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