Intelligent marking - who needs to know?

Posted: Friday, 26 October 2018 @ 14:15

The Unique Seal

Single use security seals are numbered and perhaps barcoded too, to make capturing data easier and more accurate. The reason for numbering is to make every security seal unique and auditable. Firstly to the issuer, then to whom it is issued, the container it secures and finally the vehicle it was loaded onto. At the destination the seal number is matched to the manifest prior to being broken and the contents accessed. If the seal number fails to match the manifest then goods are either rejected back to the sender or the whole consignment secured by that seal must be audited and reconciled to the manifest.

A seal must be a unique product that cannot be substituted to defeat a security system without leaving evidence, so far so simple. Using a Countermark on a seal or a label allows the consignment to be tracked from the supplier to the customer and across borders. The Countermark system provides a myriad of information, according to the rights granted to the custodian which are governed by their user rights and captured on their smartphone or PC.

Secure and easy to use

On the loading dock the security manager uses a dedicated webpage to associate the consignment data to the seal and to identify the groups of people allowed to read the consignment data. The seal is then fixed to the consignment.

The delivery driver would be allowed to scan the seal to see how many pallets are contained and their gross weight and dimensions, the delivery note number and destination. During the journey the driver may rescan the seal to show that a consignment was intact at different times and locations, perhaps when crossing a border.

The supervisor at the destination scans the seal to access the full manifest of the consignment together with product code numbers and individual quantities of each product together with cost prices and certificates of conformity.
Every attempt to read a Countermark is recorded together with its location and the make and model of the phone, this degree of control provides an audit trail and highlights unauthorised attempts to access information about the goods protected by the Countermark on the seal.


Countermark on seals allows a paperless delivery process, this reduces the risk of lost paperwork, and keeps the content of a consignment secret, denying information to potential thieves.

On some containers such as the sack in the photo, it allows the consignment data to be securely and covertly attached, with a low risk of detachment and loss.

Each Countermark read is logged, allowing the expeditor to view each step of the journey to the end destination on a track and trace system that defines the status of each party that has scanned the seal. The audit trail of reads at specific locations, including origin, destination and border crossings in between could assist in post Brexit traffic management as it allows self-certification by the driver of the load.

Countermark an old, new idea

The Countermark coding solution is an innovative idea; it is based on the orange codes used to sort post automatically. It is now generating enormous interest for its ability to show information to only the people that are authorised to see it.

Each Countermark is a unique 32-character code printed on your security seal, product or its packaging to create a secure, unique identifier that’s easy to check by using the free app.

When a user scans a Countermark, they are directed to a secure website which confirms the authenticity and origin of the seal, document or product. The amount of information that can be accessed from that website varies depending on the permissions they’ve been granted, which can be controlled by user identity, date or even geography.

Alphanumeric characters are used to allow data to be accessed even when the seal is scuffed, or partially damaged. The proprietary format makes Countermark a robust barrier to counterfeiters and fraudsters. Laser Marking is used to print the Countermark onto seals preventing the Countermarks from being erased, peeled or transferred onto another seal. The Countermark system is hosted on the Microsoft Cloud providing the best security and system availability. The cloud-based document storage and Countermark reading is the core technology that allows the Countermark system to control the access to the data and to provide audit records showing the location of all Countermark reads. The web portal available to Unisto customers allows full definition of the groups of individuals allowed to see the different levels of data.

Countermark is a trademark of Wessex Technology OEP Ltd.

The Countermark app is on Google PlayStore and Apple iTunes.


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