MIK 0.00% 1.5¢ mikoh corporation limited

from 'Australian IT' 10-09-02

  1. 131 Posts.

    Smart labels to foil power thieves
    Adrian Lynch
    SEPTEMBER 10, 2002

    A SMALL Australian tech company is using a three-pronged attack to win world markets with a diverse range of security-based products.

    Sydney's Mikoh Corporation, which specialises in smart labelling, radio signalling and secure printing, is selling its systems to Russia and Italy to print gaming tickets.
    They are also being tested in the US to foil criminal attacks on high-security government information, which is often contained in diplomatic bags and shipping containers.

    In August, Mikoh struck a deal with a major equipment maker to come up with an automated electricity meter monitor that sends a radio signal to a power supply company when it detects tampering and possible power theft.

    The prototype, which will give the address where the meter tampering has taken place, is being built in Virginia by the company's chief scientist, Dr Peter Atherton.

    It will be unveiled at a US trade fair in October.

    Mikoh executive director Ian Cameron says the smart labelling system consists of a printed circuit made with metallic ink linked to a pinhead-sized chip located on a plastic label the size of a business card.

    Using a special adhesive, the smart label, loaded with Atherton-written software, is pasted over the lock of a container.

    Thieves wanting to open the container must dislodge the label.

    Subsequent querying of the label with a PalmPilot infra-red messaging beam automatically shows whether there has been an attempt to remove the label.

    "The Americans are very interested in this as a counter-terrorism measure and its use to detect other fraudulent activities," Cameron says.

    "The PalmPilot talks to the chip and asks if it has been tampered with."

    If it has, an image of an open padlock appears on the PalmPilot's screen.

    US State Department and Defence personnel, who are highly sensitive to security breaches following last year's terrorist attacks, are intensively testing the Miko smart label technology.

    The one-use labels "allow for greater security of containers and the safe handling of goods as they move from place to place", Cameron says.

    "They also can be used to detect attempts at smuggling and whether labels have been switched from containers to other containers without authorisation," he says.

    The label identification technology, called radio frequency identification (RFID), is being linked by Australian-born Atherton with proven long-distance signalling technology used by electricity companies to produce the prototype electricity supply meter.

    The meter tamper detector will reduce power theft, Cameron says.

    "Our smart labels will be placed over the break points in a meter's housing. If a person tampers with the meter, the break point label will detect it and immediately signal the electricity company tampering has occurred at a specific meter," Cameron says.

    "Globally, power supply theft is a multimillion-dollar industry.

    "In undeveloped countries it is particularly bad."

    To get their power theft-deterrent meter technology on to the world stage, Mikoh has signed an agreement with electricity meter supplier Invensys Metering Systems of the US.

    Mikoh will integrate its RFID system, called Smart&Secure, into Invensys' iCon solid-state residential electricity meter.

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