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RFID Authenticates Italian Art Glass

Linea Murano Art, a gallery in Italy, is testing the use of NFC tags to assure buyers that the displayed works are genuine, and to provide information regarding those items.
By Claire Swedberg
Aug 07, 2012Linea Murano Art, an Italian art gallery where local artisans create and market vases and other glass objects, is protecting the authenticity of the work of Afro Celotto, using passive Near Field Communication (NFC) RFID tags that enable buyers and members of the public to learn about the artist and his artwork—and, most importantly, ensure that the objects are the real things, and not copies. The gallery is attaching an NFC tag to every piece of Celotto art, and is linking that tag's ID number to details about that work on its own server.

To learn more about a specific piece of art glass, a customer can use the gallery's Samsung NFC-enabled smartphone to read that object's RFID tag.

Linea Murano Art sells the works of multiple artists, including that of Afro Celotto, says Nicola Foccardi, the gallery's CEO. Celotto's art is sold worldwide, commanding a high price. Because the objects he creates are so highly prized, some individuals have begun copying his techniques and selling their own work as his. This not only cheats buyers, but also diminishes the value of Celotto's creations, according to Ferruccio Ferrari, the general manager of Novarex, the company that provided the tags and software to link read events to data on the gallery's server.

Celotto and Foccardi began seeking a technology that could prove to a buyer that a piece of art was, indeed, Celotto's. But they also wanted a method for providing information to prospective buyers.

To read the tag attached to an item, the user places an RFID-enabled phone under the glass shelf on which that item is displayed.
Before the NFC tags were added, buyers had to simply trust that the displayed artwork was authentic, Foccardi explains; now, with the RFID system in place, they have proof. To develop the solution, Linea Murano Art and Celotto worked with RFID Soluzioni, Novarex's RFID division. The system consists of NFC tags, a Samsung Galaxy Mini NFC-enabled smartphone, an NFC reader plugged into a PC, and RFID Soluzioni's software on Linea Murano's server, to store data regarding each piece of art.

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