Honeywell has unveiled a digital authentication technology for its personal protective equipment (PPE) manufactured in the UAE in a bid to fight rising counterfeiting in the Middle East and African regions
While the COVID-19 pandemic has buoyed demand for PPE such as N95 respirators, the new market demand has also sparked an increase in counterfeit PPE products, directly affecting retail consumers and especially the medical industry’s frontline workers most exposed to the coronavirus. Seizures of hundreds of thousands of counterfeit N95 respirators have been reported in the UAE and South Africa. Nearly 20 factories selling substandard face masks, disinfectants and hand sanitisers have been uncovered in the UAE since the outbreak of the virus.1,400,000 counterfeit face masks were seized in Dubai in January 2021.2
“In response to the growing number of counterfeit PPE products in the Middle East and Africa, we’ve chosen the UAE to be the testing ground for digital authentication technology for our PPE distributed across the region,” said Greg Norton, general manager, fine chemicals and authentication technologies. “This software will not only confirm the authentication of our N95 respirators made in the UAE, but it will also help detect counterfeit PPE products to help authorities reduce illicit trade during the pandemic.”
To authenticate the product, the end-user scans a digital code embedded in the packaging with their smartphone camera after downloading the Honeywell application for iOS or Android. The software validates the product’s authenticity through a database, letting the end-user know it is safe to use and gathers market intelligence data.
Honeywell-branded N95 respirators are produced in the UAE by Strata Manufacturing as part of a strategic collaboration established last year in response to the pandemic. The N95 respirators are certified to meet N95 and FFP2 standards. The Strata-Honeywell operation produces more than 30 million respirators annually.