Authentication – the art of being able to tell what's real from what's fake.

With fake news in the press, and old pound coins being replaced, not to mention a new five pound note, it is timely to talk about authenticity. Alfred Newman takes us through the three layers behind an authentication system. From the actual authentication markers on the 'things' we interact with, through to the 'device' – the thing that tells you if it's real or not (in the case of many of our interactions with currency the 'device' may just be us, using our senses). And then there’s the operational side, which manages the way the assets are controlled and introduced.

Ultimately each authentication system will be unique, but will find a way to combine the three elements: something that is cheap to add but difficult to copy, a reliable way to detect it, and for this to be integrated into the operations that are actually effective in preventing the introduction of counterfeits.

Alfred Newman

Alfred is group leader of our Applied Science group. An optical physicist by background, he joined Cambridge Consultants in 2010 working on a variety of consumer, industrial and security projects, and has since spent two years in our Singapore office as a broader technical lead.