Global supply chain security is becoming an increasing concern — from microchips on motherboards to the rivet used in the wings of $100 million fighter jets. How can government organizations or businesses know the parts and components they’re purchasing are not only real but also that they haven’t been tampered with? A new technology can help.

Through an innovative and surprisingly cost-effective tracking process, SAP partner DUST Identity spray coats objects with nanodiamond dust to create an unclonable identity layer, allowing them to be catalogued and tracked electronically. The company’s Diamond Unclonable Security Tag (DUST) enables component suppliers, original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), raw materials producers, and anyone in a supply chain to help both ensure only genuine and safe products are used and eliminate the risks associated with low-quality parts or tainted devices.

The diamond dust particles each have unique characteristics and can include specific atomic defects nanoengineered by DUST Identity. The particles are applied through a spray coating and each object can have thousands or even millions of particles.

“It’s like biometrics without the bio,” said Ophir Gaathon, co-founder and CEO of DUST Identity. “Each product can have its own identity, its own personality. And once you associate an object digitally through the dust, you can bring that object into a blockchain to further maintain integrity with stakeholders not just within your company but with other stakeholders in the blockchain too.”

DUST Identity is looking to answer a question that’s challenged enterprises seemingly forever: How do you know you can trust your supply chain? After all, the more complex a product is, the more complex its supply chain. From sourcing raw materials and components and parts to utilization of contract manufacturing, the increased dependence on the third-party partner ecosystem has strained current controls. Companies today are actively seeking new tools to improve accountability and trust across their value chain, according to Gaathon.

“Our focus is solving the commercial struggle, the friction that exists with enterprises making sure parts are genuine,” Gaathon said. “Putting security markings on a product can be expensive, even several dollars a tag. That can be a big problem when you are talking about scores of parts.  That can hinder organizations from being able to secure their supply chains. DUST can provide a unique tag, along with a tool that can authenticate objects for enterprises all over the world.”

DUST Identity was launched in 2018, initially focused on developing the diamond dust solution for the U.S. Department of Defense to provide further security for one of the world’s most secure supply chains.

“A five-dollar component can jeopardize a power plant or defense platform or data center,” Gaathon said. “As we looked to guarantee critical infrastructure, we started to learn how to leverage the full potential of diamond dust, building into an SAP ecosystem, not just blockchain but solutions natively deployed within SAP.”

Opening Doors to the Global Economy

The DUST solution will allow businesses and companies from developing nations to more effectively compete in the global economy. “We want to empower the responsible vendors with an intuitive tool that literally streamlines the information flow about their products while demonstrating accountability,” Gaathon said.

DUST Identity demonstrated its solution at the 2019 SAP Global Partner Summit, which exemplified the next-generation partner type that SAP is looking to recruit — companies using SAP platforms to create value through their own intellectual property. Innovative solutions like DUST help build trust with customers, much like DUST helps instill more confidence in customers’ supply chains.

“The solution is designed to create a clear and measurable contrast between a trusted supplier and the bad actors.  Having the part be the encore for the data simplifies and secures its retrieval. That’s important to enterprises because raw materials and components can be held up for months at a border crossing if they don’t have proper documentation. Securing supply chains will become more important as more companies integrate systems, data, and processes through intelligent enterprises,” Gaathon said. “Blockchain technology helps different silos of an organization, or supply chain partners, leverage the unique ID embedded on any dust-sprayed object to ensure authenticity of objects.

“Ultimately, we are providing trust in physical identity, which helps create a safer, more trusted world.”

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