Lowe’s Uses Blockchain, RFID to Combat Retail Theft
Lowe’s has introduced a fresh solution created by its Innovation Labs section to prevent retail robbery using RFID chips and the blockchain in a manner that is undetectable to consumers.
The developed model, dubbed Project Unlock, uses cost effective RFID chips and IoT sensor devices to engage power systems at the point of sale, while simultaneously maintaining a safe, publicly available, and anonymous trail of valid transactions on the blockchain.
As per the National Retail Federation, organised retail fraud has been on the increase for the last two years and affects merchants an average of $700,000 every $1 billion in sales. Until previously, protection for high-value items often entailed locking them up, but Lowe’s technological advancement might enable the firm to eliminate its padlocks and shelf doors.
In a video introducing the latest technology, the business stated, “It’s our responsibility to make sure consumers feel as little hassle as practicable; this is why we’re so worried about retail fraud and devoted to eliminating it.” We envision a future in which technologies such as Project Unlock will assist the whole retail environment in fostering a positive atmosphere for our consumers.
Project Unlock has two solutions that are interrelated. The initial one is point-of-sale product activation, whereby only lawfully bought items are engaged. This implies that stolen power tools will not function. The POS trigger is driven by an RFID tag placed in the goods by the manufacturer and pre-programmed with the unique id of each individual item. This serial number is also encoded in the container’s barcode, and the merchandise has been rendered unusable. The barcode is enabled when it is scanned at the checkout.
A visible purchase history that helps merchants, manufacturers, and enforcement agencies identify and confirm ownership is the second component of the strategy. The purchase of a goods by a consumer is documented on the blockchain. Then, these data, which include no personally identifiable data about customers, are accessible to anybody. For instance, resellers such as marketplaces might verify the data to guarantee that they are not purchasing stolen goods. For this to function, a distinct NFT is generated for every real product.
As a proof-of-concept (PoC), Project Unlock will initially be implemented in Lowe’s shops throughout its array of power devices. However, an official spokesman for Lowe’s stated that the company “sees scope to utilize this undetectable blockchain and RFID framework for other goods in its shops and throughout the entire retail environment.”