FIELD OF THE INVENTION
This invention relates generally to the field of authentication and tracking of assets by advantageous use of recursive information logging technologies.
More particularly, the present invention comprises an inventive method, and computerized utility for implementing said method, which allows a user to remotely determine and optionally act, in real time, upon the relational attributes of assets including unique identification, ownership, access rights, status, location and transaction history spanning lifecycle of the recited assets.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION AND DESCRIPTION OF RELATED ART
Recursive identification, stock-taking, and tracking of assets, particularly articles and processes, is an ubiquitous necessity identified today in virtually every sector of industry, commerce, and services where the belonging of an asset implies the source, end-ownership, function, transitory entrustment, location, and/ or liability associated with said article.
Due to the sheer number of circumstantial pluralities an article and its belongings can expect to undergo during its lifetime, and further considering at least an inventory of such articles and corresponding belongings that can constitute each circumstantial environment, it is imperative to have some means capable of addressing the aforesaid necessities yet being sufficiently flexible to accommodate diverse articles and assorted processes of independent nature as well as varying multiplicities.
Virtual determination of a belonging through a distribution network, or supply chain and theft-deterrence therein are allied objectives being highly desired along with the foregoing wants. In this added perspective, it is not impossible to foresee, that recursive identification, stock-taking, and tracking of assets are functions attributable to multiple entities interim to the source and end-owner of an asset.
While the chain of entities, or at least their functional determinants can be predicted in a pre-defined value chain of passage to be had by an asset, it is quite to the contrary under sale or entrustment to a third party and more so upon an unexpected event such as theft, loss or misplacement of an asset. Hence, it would therefore be required
of an effective system capable of fulfilling the aforementioned requirements to have a generic information store which is configured to map and support significant logging of contextually relevant data, processing and retrieval for a variety of sources whether known previously, or not, to the said system.
Attempts directed towards fulfillment of above requirements find scattered references in the art. For example, Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) systems involving electronic, magnetic, acoustic, radio, microwave systems, and/ or their various combinations, have found utility since long, however in limited applications such as preventing shoplifting at convenience stores. Use of smart passive and/or active labels, more commonly used in domains such as logistics and/ or reverse logistics is a parallel approach, nonetheless unable to effectively provide for the requirements and deficiencies listed herein above.
As can be readily appreciated, the applicability of EAS technologies is solely directed towards preventing unauthorized removal of items from a facility, and as such, is sorely restricted to availability of costly equipment and their limited scanning perimeters in the physical user-environments they comprise and apply. Thus, consideration of purposes apart from security concerns of assets, such as simple maintenance of their inventories, facilitation of their routine functions or transit paths, to highly evolved functions such as assuming electronic identities of the persons in their possession would be highly favorable. It is therefore required that an effective mechanism capable of fulfilling the aforementioned requirements ideally captures, advertises, and meaningfully processes contextual data corresponding to an asset in each of its expected circumstantial environments.
An example among solutions filed for patent, is US8826040 (issued to Giesecke and Devrient GmbH) which discloses a product information system provisioned for safety of products, wherein machine-readable data is applied to the products and said data utilized for identifying and tracking said products using a secure networked data service.
Another example is US13390464 (issued to Giesecke and Devrient GmbH) which discloses a method for marking a manufactured product by devising an affine transformed identification visual marking, which serves later for verification and/or tracking of the product.
Yet another example, US7387249 (issued to Optaglio Ltd) discloses a method for verifying products with machine-readable product data intended to be introduced into circulation and comprising the steps of inputting the product data into a product data storage system; applying the machine readable product data to each product unit; reading the machine readable product data with a portable reading device at at least one point in the product distribution route and verifying the authenticity of such received product data and thereby verifying the authenticity of the product itself. Machine-readable product data is associated with the product using any one, or any combination of, thermal transfer, ink-jetting, digital printing processes, mechanical engraving, laser engraving and traditional printing techniques. Additionally, a visual security element is associated with the product which includes at least one of a surface relief structure, a diffractive device, a holographic device, a thin film interference device, a security print element, a digital watermark, water marked paper, threaded paper, windowed threaded paper, or security print paper.
On stratified comparison, prior art is seen to address unique identification of products, their ownership (title and/ or possession) independently but not in integration with access rights, status, location and transactional history spanning lifecycle of said products. Additionally, prior art is silent on circumstantial aspects surrounding entrustment of products for processing, or where the asset to be monitored is not a product but a process.
Background art, therefore to the limited extent presently surveyed, does not list a single effective solution embracing all considerations mentioned hereinabove, thus preserving an acute necessity-to-invent for the present inventor who, as result of his focused research, has come up with novel solutions for resolving all needs of the art once and for all.
Work of the presently named inventor, specifically directed against the technical problems recited hereinabove and currently part of the public domain including earlier filed patent applications, is neither expressly nor impliedly admitted as prior art against the present disclosures.
OBJECTIVES OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
The present invention is identified in addressing at least all major deficiencies of art discussed in the foregoing section by effectively achieving the objectives stated under, among which:
It is a primary objective of the present invention to provide a method that integrates unique identification of assets, their ownership/s, associated access right/s, instantaneous status/es, location/s and transaction history/ies spanning lifecycle of said assets, wherein the asset may either be a product or a process.
It is another objective further to the aforesaid objective(s) that the method so provided establishes a dynamic virtual inventory of assets which allows a user to track them in real time within convenience of a simple networked interface.
It is another objective further to the aforesaid objective(s) that the method so provided allows systematic identification and tracking of assets, including therein products or processes, that inherently have signature lifecycles populated by diverse as well as a plurality of entities / actors involved.
It is another objective further to the aforesaid objective(s) that the method so provided identifies the drivers of different user groups and seeks to bring benefits to all participating segments involved.
It is another objective further to the aforesaid objective(s) that the method so provided is capable of implementation without involving, or minimally if at all, alterations in existing hardware, network protocols, and communication devices.
It is another objective further to the aforesaid objective(s) that the method so provided does not include undue costs, complexities, and extreme skills on part of users implementing the same.
The manner in which the above objectives are achieved, together with other objects and advantages which will become subsequently apparent, reside in the detailed description set forth below in reference to the accompanying drawings and furthermore specifically outlined in the independent claims 1 and 14. Other advantageous embodiments of the invention are specified in the dependent claims. SUMMARY OF THE PRESENT INVENTION
To achieve the lacunae presented in the background section, and in accordance with objectives stated hereinabove, are presented herein an inventive method, and computerized utility for implementing said method, which allows a user to remotely determine and optionally act, in real time, upon the relational attributes of assets
including unique identification, ownership, access rights, status, location and transaction history spanning lifecycle of the recited assets.
A better understanding of the aforesaid objects, in addition to inherrent advantages, features, properties and relationships of the present invention will be obtained from the following detailed description which sets forth an illustrative yet-preferred embodiment.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS
The present invention is explained herein under with reference to the following drawings, in which:
Figure 1 is a flowchart depicting a typical application environment wherein the present invention is intended to be applied as per its preferred embodiment recited hereof.
Figure 2 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be applied in its preferred embodiment, and the utilities so facilitated, within the application environment illustrated in Figure 1 .
Figure 3 is a schematic diagram representing an alphanumeric code used for unique identification, ownership, access rights, status, location and transaction history spanning lifecycle of any asset, in accordance with preferred embodiment of the present invention recited herein.
Figure 4 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention, in its preferred embodiment recited herein, allows integrative assimilation of common and specific processes expected in lifecycle of any asset.
Figure 5 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be implemented, as per its preferred embodiment recited herein.
Figure 6 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be implemented, as per an isolated embodiment recited herein, in relation to insurance of assets.
Figure 7 (a and b) comprises two block diagrams, wherein (a) depicts the value chain existing today; and (b) the value chain resulting from introduction of the present invention, as per an isolated embodiment recited herein, in relation to electronic payments.
Figure 8 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be implemented, as per an isolated embodiment recited herein at figure 7(b), in relation to secure electronic payments.
Figure 9 is a photograph of a passive tag intended to be associated with goods for their real time tracking as per the disclosures hereof.
Figure 10 is a photograph of an active tag intended to be associated with goods for their real time tracking as per the disclosures hereof.
Figure 1 1 is a block diagram illustrating the manner in which manufacturers / service providers are connected with the end-user / owner as per the disclosures hereof.
The above drawings are illustrative of particular examples of the present invention but are not intended to limit the scope thereof. The drawings are not to scale (unless so stated) and are intended for use solely in conjunction with their explanations in the following detailed description. In above drawings, wherever possible, the same references and symbols have been used throughout to refer to the same or similar parts.
List of numeral and other indices used in the above drawings-
001 - Manufacturer / Service provider
002 - Asset, including therein a process or a product
003 - Act / step / instance of supply to 004
004 - Retailer / Franchisee / Reseller of 002
005 - Act / step / instance of sale from 004 to 009
006 - Act / step / instance of entrustment of 002 from 004 and/ or 009 to 010
007 - Act / step / instance of theft from 004 and/ or 009
008 - Act / step / instance of resale from 009 to 010.
009 - Owner / recipient / user / end-user of 002
010 - Third party apart from 001 , 004 and/ or 009
01 1 - Act / step / instance of recycling of 002
012 - Act / step / instance of recall of 002 by 001
013 - Act / step / instance of return of 002 to 001
014 - Network-enabled utility / applet / thin-client
015 - Over the air human machine interface (OTA-HMI)
016 - Manufacturing / provision of a specifically identified instance of 002
017 - Insurance transaction undertaken on a specific instance of 002
018 - Retail transaction undertaken on a specific instance of 002
019 - Service transaction undertaken on a specific instance of 002
020 - Common processes undertaken during lifecycle of a specific instance of 002
021 - Specific processes in addition to 020 undertaken during lifecycle of a specific instance of 002
022 - "GEOOWN" - trusted remote service / service platform embodying the present invention
023 - Organizational (company) consumer of 002, therein subscribing to 022
024 - Non-living (thing) consumer of 002, therein subscribing to 022
025 - Individual (person) consumer of 002, therein subscribing to 022
026 - Partial code segment identifying the source and make of 002
027 - Partial code segment identifying who generated the alphanumeric code AA
028 - Partial code segment identifying a specific 001 for an instance of 002
029 - Partial code segment identifying specific model / mode of the 002
030 - Partial code segment being serial number of the specific instance of 002
031 - Start point of implementation of the present invention
032 - 041 - Sequential steps for implementation of the present invention
Though above numbering has been introduced to demarcate reference to specific components in relation to such references being made in different sections of this specification, all components are not shown or numbered in each drawing to avoid obscuring the invention proposed.
Attention of the reader is now requested to the detailed description to follow which narrates a preferred embodiment of the present invention and such other ways in which principles of the invention may be employed without parting from the essence of the invention claimed herein
Principally, general purpose of the present invention is to assess disabilities and shortcomings inherent to known systems comprising state of the art and develop new systems incorporating all available advantages of known art and none of its disadvantages.
Before undertaking the detailed description of the invention below, it may be advantageous to set forth definitions of certain words or phrases used throughout this patent document: the terms "include" and "comprise," as well as derivatives thereof, mean inclusion without limitation; the term "or" is inclusive, meaning and/or; the phrases "associated with" and "associated therewith," as well as derivatives thereof, may mean to include, be included within, interconnect, with, contain, be contained within, connect to or with, couple to or with, be communicable with, cooperate with, interleave, juxtapose, be proximate to, be bound to or with, have, have a property of, or the like. The term "Asset" shall mean and refer equally to a tangible product as well as a service; "GEOOWN" stands for a software-implemented service platform based upon implementation of the present invention proposed by the present invention' "API" refers application programming interface;
The present inventors propose to address at least majority of the shortcomings of state-of-art and primarily focuses on avoiding, or at least minimizing, the security, cost, technical and utility concerns in existing methodologies proposed therein to thus result in the inventive solution proposed hereof.
Furthermore, the present invention scores above prior art in having a holistic approach for exercising virtual ownership over assets, therein allowing its owner to uniquely identify and monitor the same throughout its lifecycle and the fact that it addresses the drivers of different user groups in a seamless model by naming goods and developing processes around each participant, the manufacturer, retailer, service company, insurance company, mobile operator. While each process for each sector may be different, it benefits each participant group in this ecosystem. For example the mobile operators can increase revenues with active tracking devices, the insurance company by more business, the retailer with closer customer recall, the manufacturer by greater customer intimacy and contacts with the user of the goods they manufacture.
Aforementioned benefits for different actors in the ecosystem are enabled by the Virtual Ownership of Data and the monetary proceeds of the benefits flows to the owners of virtual identity. The holistic view around identity enables the reuse of virtual identity for different processes and is the key to enabling people to use the system. The more processes are driven around a virtual identity and secured by communication and secure processes the more people start to use the platform. Also self interest of people is mapped to drive the different processes. This has been self evident in identity platforms like Linkedln or Facebook. While Facebook does not cover any process and Linkedln covers a HR process, the idea of tying together the whole holistic view around identity, different processes, communication and transaction is an invention by itself.
Accordingly, the disclosures herein are directed towards overcoming the shortcomings of prior art and establishing an inventive method, and computerized utility for implementing said method, which allows a user to remotely determine and optionally act, in real time, upon the relational attributes of assets including unique identification, ownership, access rights, status, location and transaction history of the recited assets.
Nomenclature, assignment of ownership, monitoring the status, and delegation of functions are progressively evolving phenomena according to approach selected by the present inventor. This concept is generic to any asset which may either be tangible or intangible, and applies equally to tangible articles / products as well as intangible / abstract processes comprising the material world we live in today. The present invention assumes all possible use-cases in this context including-
1) Transactions involving transfer of property (title and/ or possession) therein defining the lifecycle of a physical product, e.g. smart phone
2) Transactions pertaining to execution of services upon a physical product during lifecycle of said physical product, e.g. submitting a television set for repair; and
3) Transactions involving rendition of a service therein including no physical product, e.g. taking benefit of a loyalty program offering discounts to regular customers of a restaurant.
Therefore circumstantially, the term "Asset" in the present context would well mean a physical product or an abstract service. In special cases, virtual identity is intended to be a product. These and other details of the present invention are discussed in detail in the description to follow.
With reference to the accompanying Figure 1 which is a flowchart depicting a typical application environment wherein the present invention is intended to be applied, it can be seen that every instance of an asset (002), whether it is a product or a service, has a fixed natural lifecycle wherein it encounters multiple entities / actors having their specific part / role to play.
Typically any instance of such asset (002), including it being a product or a service, is necessarily created first by one or more manufacturer(s) or service providers) (collectively represented by (001 )). Thereafter, the asset (002) is then distributed, in a supply event (003) to at least one retailer / seller or agent (collectively represented by (004)), before reaching the hands of an owner (009) who has priorly placed order for receiving the asset (002). Third parties (collectively represented by (010)) such as those responsible for transport, insurance, repair, servicing or further workmanship on the asset (002) may be involved circumstantially as per lifecycle of the particular instance of the asset (002).
As seen further in the accompanying Figure 1 , events of supply (003) and sale (005) determine a distinct vertical translation from said one or more manufacturer(s) or service provider(s) (001 ), to the at least one retailer or agent (004), and ultimately to an owner or recipient (009). After an asset reaches the end of its utility / life, more so for goods of perishable nature, an additional event of recycling (011 ) has to occur to thereby complete the lifecycle of said asset (002). However, it is not hard to imagine other events, of either vertical or horizontal translation, such as theft (007), resale (008), entrustment (006) to third parties, recall (012), and return (013) whereby the asset (002) encounters frequent change of hands to and from the third party (010).
To facilitate either horizontal and/ or vertical transfers in addition to these aforementioned events, and also to ensure identity, ownership of the asset and actions performed in conjunction with said asset to therefore ensure its intended wellbeing as well as timely detection and localization of an aberrant eventuality at any moment, tertiary entities/ actors including assurance, sales support, post sales law
enforcement agencies, insurance, and lost-and-found services are involved on a need-to basis.
From the foregoing narrative, it shall be understood that in the real world, each asset (002) has its own signature lifecycle which is populated by a corresponding diversity and plurality of entities / actors involved. Considering the options for each entity and event, the figurative plurality thereof, the probability of them being encountered, and whether such are scheduled or not, leaves us with nothing but an impractical maze of probabilities between events and actors / role-based entities described here before, which defines the actual life cycle of an instance of the asset (002).
The present inventor proposes to bring order to the aforementioned chaos by providing a systematic method of unique identification, assignment of ownership, demarcating conditional accesses, determining status, location and transaction history of said asset (002) by recursively earmarking its attributes including but not restricted to identity, status, and whereabouts during the actual lifecycle of said asset (002).
The accompanying Figure 2 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be applied in its preferred embodiment, and the utilities so facilitated, within the application environment originally illustrated in Figure 1 . The drivers for driving the usage of the processes for Figure 1 , be it a goods recall process or a goods lost and found processes, depends on the benefits for different actors in the ecosystem. As shown here, "lp" represents the Identity of people, "lo" represents the Identity of Organizations and "It" represents Identity of Assets, Things and Objects. "P" represents processes around Identity of objects, people and organizations, "C" represents Communication and "T" represents Transactions.
It can be further seen from Figure 2, that the aforementioned objectives are implemented using a network-enabled utility (014), particularly a web-based application, whereby the asset (002) can be monitored effortlessly at any moment irrespective of physical location and time of either the asset or the actor enquiring of it. According to a related aspect of the present invention (shown later in Figure 5), a user, typically the owner (009) of an article / product or recipient of a service is required to subscribe to said network-enabled utility (014) by logging in personally identifying attributes as well as details of all assets the user wishes to be monitored. Here, the owner (009) is provided an application program interface configured to
receive and store details of the owner, thereby creating a user account, and thereafter allowing the registered user to create and maintain a systematic inventory / registry identifying the asset/s the owner (009) wishes to assert virtual ownership as per implementation of the present invention.
Once registered, each asset is recognized by a machine-generated unique nomenclature whereby identity of the actors / people (Ip), identity of the assets / goods (Ig), identity of the source / manufacturer (It), identity of of organizations (lo) and so on are captured in a coded format. The coded format is preferably alphanumeric as per the format (AA) shown (within the <> brackets) below.
According to one aspect of the present invention, different portions of the format (AA) (the virtual identity code) shown above (within the parantheses "<>") signify independent identities of the asset. Particularly, in a reading frame from left to right more particularly illustrated in the accompanying Figure 4, a block of the first seven characters (026) in capital alphabet format stand for identifying the source and make of the asset. A block of the two numeral characters (027) following immediately after (026) stand for identifying who generated the code. A block of the next seven characters (028) in capital alphabet format following immediately after (027) stand for identifying the manufacturer or service provider. A block of the next four characters (029) in lower case alphabet format following after (028) stand for identifying the specific model of the asset. A block of the last ten characters (030) in numeral format following (029) stand for serial number of the asset which is assigned in sequence of registration with the aforementioned network-based utility.
According to another aspect of the present invention, the code (AA) is designed to uniquely identify any nature and plurality of any asset in the world. This ability is resultant of that each character in the code (AA) is possible of assuming 26 values (A to Z) if it is an alphabetic character, or 10 values (0 to 9) if it is a numeric character. Furthermore, each block can have various permutations and combinations of its characters, namely, number of values that can be had by a character raised to the number of letters in a block, and combinations thereof, to thereby provision for a very large number of unique codes that can uniquely identify any nature and plurality of any asset in the world without any instance of repetition.
The code (AA) therefore is a unique identity of any instance of the asset (002), which can be any product or service globally, and is intended to be associated with said asset (002) for implementation of the present invention. Pictographic transformation of the code (AA) for further security, such as QR code (shown in Figure 9) is not unforeseen in the present invention. In alternative embodiments of the present invention, the code (AA) or its pictorial transformation (together referred as the GEOOWN number) may be shipped on order to the owner (009) along with the GEOOWN Unique id code which can be stuck, as a passive tag (an exemplary format is shown in Figure 9) on the particular instance of the asset (002) (if a product) or maintained as an identity tag for the end-user (in case the asset is a service) to thereby result in a system of virtually identifiable unique identities representing any nature, type, and instance of the asset (002) worldwide.
According to another aspect of the present invention, the unique virtual identity code (AA) is preferably machine-generated using a special GEOOWN algorithm once a particular asset is registered with the aforementioned network-based utility. In alternative, the code may be made available in bulk / printed / affixed onto an asset at its source in a manner discoverable to the owner of an asset or recipient of a service. The present invention, in its preferred embodiment, includes scratch cards for this purpose, whereby a user / owner (009) may print the same, or alternatively order a printed batch through API of the network-enabled utility (014). It shall be understood however that use of all other state-of-art coding and presentation formats including advantageous incorporation of any one, or any combination of, thermal transfer, ink- jetting, digital printing processes, mechanical engraving, laser engraving and traditional printing techniques are intended to be covered by alternative embodiments of the present invention whereby the unique identity generated by the special GEOOWN algorithm is associated with the asset (002).
Once coded, each instance of the asset (002) may further be associated with a passive tag (represented by the letter G in Figure 1 and a sample format of which is shown in Figure 9) to thereby associate with its unique identification code, which combination therefore can be tracked in conjunction with each stage, actor, milestone, or voluntary enquiry, along the actual lifecycle of any instance of the asset (002). Preferably, the passive tag is intended to be an inexpensive sticker (as shown in Figure 9) which can be received through mail once ordered by the user/ owner (009), or simply printed out on suitable stationary by the user / owner (009). All other
types of passive tags available conventionally, irrespective of human visibility or readability, are intended to be covered in analogous applicability of the aforementioned passive tag in further alternative embodiments of the present invention.
The passive tags, particularly the QR codes therein, are read in two ways. First, a QR code reader provided by the GEOOWN platform, coupled with the utility (014), or any other QR code applet available, that a user may download on a networked computational device having means for image capture such as a smart phone, to thereafter scan and thereby read the passive tag. Alternatively, unique identity of the asset (002) may be ascertained via a unique identifier (the code "M9Sd1 " in Figure 9) which is human readable, and does not require a QR code reader.
Accordingly, in a lost and found situation relating to an asset (002) bearing a passive tag, the finder may accordingly scan the QR code on it. Alternatively, this can be accomplished without a QR code as well, by help of the unique identifier mentioned on the tag. Here, the finder may access the GEOOWN website, and enter the unique identifier in the product enquiry tab provided. Either way, scanning of QR code or entry of the unique identifier trigger a software-implemented backend process, which directs the finder to a GEOOWN webpage to send a message to the owner (009) of the asset (002) to allow the finder and owner (009) to coordinate for restoring possession of the lost asset (002) to the owner (009). This process is mapped in the virtual application environment of the GEOOWN platform (022). The passive tags also contain the statement "To return to Owner, Scan QR code or enter number on www.geoown.com" for guiding the finder about the aforementioned process.
A novel feature of the present invention is that, logging of the predefined set of parameters linked to the asset (002) for validating and tracking, therein asserting virtual ownership by uniquely identifying and monitoring the asset (002) till end of its lifecycle is not restricted to any particular frequency but rather made amenable to nature of tag associated and circumstantial requirement for the asset (002). As understood, the active tag is capable of relaying the predefined set of parameters in real time, however to save battery and ensure meaningful data capture, its relay is programmed to have a set frequency across time for logging in steady-state status of the asset (002) or otherwise a higher frequency across time that that used for logging in steady-state status of the asset (002) in the event of recording any unexpected
change in the predefined set of parameters corresponding to the asset (002). For example, it may not be meaningful to track position of an asset when stationary, however becomes critical when the asset is moved when not supposed to, such as in an incidence of theft.
Besides the passive tag described in the foregoing section, the present invention provides for parallel integration of an active tag in form of the dedicated device shown in Figure 10. This active tag is an electronic device of suitable form factor having onboard sensors for capturing, and thereafter transmitting in real time to the trusted service platform (022), information pertaining to the status, location, temperature, GPS coordinates, access, act or part thereof transacted upon the asset (002) with which said active tag is associated. Furthermore, this active tag is intended to be physically tied / inserted / associated on-board / within the asset (002) (specially if the asset is large, such as an automotive vehicle). The active tag is intended to assume various form factors and dimensions as per asset to be tracked (such as a cylindrical form factor capable of fitting within the seat tube of a bicycle), and integrates suitable array of off-the shelf sensors to therefore log a predefined set of parameters, in real time, including data such as pressure, GPS coordinates, temperature, spatial position along XYZ axes (or change therein). Captured data is communicated wirelessly over the air to a remote GEOOWN server (explained later), to thereby help a user / owner (009) to actively monitor and assert virtual ownership over any instance of the asset (002).
According to another aspect of the present invention, user interface / HMI (015) of above- referred network-enabled utility (014) is configured to allow secure, role-based access (via rules filtering the access or routing of an asset to any specific actor), via an over-the-air protocol, to actors who are registered users of the GEOOWN platform. Recursive data logging and/ or retrieval is facilitated for these users via over the air (OTA) communication networks. Point of use terminals, mobile devices and their like, which generally can host a SIM, are ideally intended for access to the GEOOWN platform.
Important to mention, as a result of a combinatorial tracking of the passive and / or active identification tags, a relationship is established between the identity of assets and the identity of either the people or the organization.
Consequently, the lifecycle of each asset is effectively mapped over time, allowing therefore that any asset is tracked in real time without conforming to a rigid pathway of events, and importantly that any deviation yet counts as an alert to the user involved. It shall be understood that passive tags report attributes linked to an asset, including its status and whereabouts, when a user / third party traces the same, via API of the GEOOWN platform. Active tags continually update, via OTA communication, the GEOOWN server as to the attributes of their associated asset/s. Big data associated with these operations is intended to open up new avenues of analytics, contextual advertising and revenue streams thereof which supports, in part, one business case of the present invention.
It shall be realized that a passive tag serves in voluntary identification of the asset (002) by the person / process such as placing a query with the web-based GEOOWN platform (022) while the active tag serves for real time involuntary tracking of the asset to which it is associated. Active and passive tagging is essentially separate however their combinatorial determination of circumstantial status, location, access, act or part thereof transacted upon the associated asset (002), and entity/ies responsible for any of said effects is a key novel feature of the present invention.
Figure 3 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention, in its preferred embodiment recited herein, allows integrative assimilation of common and specific processes expected in lifecycle of any instance of the asset (002). As seen here, any instance of the asset (002) which is identified, upon subscription and registration to the GEOOWN platform (022) by the user / owner (009), in form of the code (AA). Accordingly, manufacturers (016), insurance providers (017), retailers (018), and service providers (019) are the actors, besides the manufacturers (001 ) and users / owners (002) that need to subscribe, via respective APIs provided in the the GEOOWN platform (022) for implementation of the present invention. Non- institutionalized actors, such as things (025), persons (026), may also be included and vice-versa, e.g. companies as the owner/ user / consumer (023).
Once subscriptions and asset registrations are completed, ownership and tracking of the assets is achieved by the combinatorial tracking of the active and/ or passive tags as mentioned in the earlier section of this document, to thereby allow common processes (020) (such as customer contact, customer service process, location/ loyalty/ payment process), specific processes (021 ) (such as authenticity, geo-
tagging, product recall, green recycling, transport / hospitality, feedback royalty, custom retail meet, loss reporting, and discount process) to be transacted in relation to any instance of the asset (002) being virtually identified and traced via the GEOOWN platform (022). Implementation of each of these processes, in ambit of the present invention, is restricted in one aspect to the unique identity and virtual ownership of any asset and role of any actor thereupon, as provided in the foregoing narration of the present invention. Proforma of the processes (020) and (021 ) themselves follows their conventional practices and protocols.
As aforementioned, and will be realized from the foregoing narration, the present invention is applicable for virtual ownership and tracking of any instance of the asset (002) in all of the following scenarios-
1) Where the asset (002) is a tangible product;
2) Where the asset (002) is an intangible service performed on a tangible product; or
3) Where the asset (002) is a service without involvement of a tangible product, wherein the asset (002) is represented by the passive / active tag in possession of the recipient of said service.
The present invention has presently been reduced to practice on a test scale in the form of a web-based global goods ownership and tracking process platform (termed GEOOWN as identified in numerous instances in the foregoing narrative). As generally referred from the accompanying Figure 1 1 , implementation is arranged via complementary execution between the utility (014) and master program hosted within execution environment of the remote GEOOWN server / remote data storage facility. Information flows are represented differentially (as per legend) provided. Testing has been done with a small subset of people who have used said platform. Numerous advantages spell plug-and-play applicability in diverse environments, as recited in a select few examples below provided for reference of the reader as to the scale of applicability of the present invention.
Example 1 : Implementation
Accompanying Figure 5 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be implemented, as per its preferred embodiment recited herein. Accordingly, a start point (031 ), including preparation by provisioning a virtual application environment for implementation of the present invention, is intended to
initiate step (031 ) for assumption of ownership of an instance of an asset (002) by a corresponding user / owner (009). It shall be understood that such ownership may be pre-existing whereby previously owned asset may be registered with the network- based utility (014).
The remote trusted service platform (022) includes therein a wirelessly communicable remote data server. On this server, are installed, each among a software- implemented master utility configured to receive information items relayed by the thin- client (014) to thereby record user-account of the owner (009) and correspondingly store information items relationally identifying the owner (009) and the asset (002); a set of algorithms for computer executable routine for generating the unique virtual identity code (AA) based upon information items relationally identifying the owner (009) and the asset (002).
Alternatively, ownership may be newly created whereby the asset is so assigned at source, that is, at its requisition by a user / owner (009) with the manufacturer or service provider (001 ). Assumption of ownership as introduced above, in order to avail the present invention implemented via the GEOOWN platform as per the foregoing narration, the user / owner (009) of said asset (002) first required to voluntarily register via web-based API of the GEOOWN platform (022), in step (033), to subscribe to the network-based utility (014). User interface of said platform is programmed to record, in step (034), an inventory of identities of owners and their corresponding asset/s being entered manually as a single time activity by logged-in subscribers. Such information items relationally identifying the owner (009) and the asset (002) are stored within memory of the remote secure server embodying the GEOOWN trusted service platform (022).
Consequently at the backend, the logged in information/ data is transformed via suitable algorithm at step (035), into the alphanumeric code (AA). Thereafter, the subscribed owner may print / order the passive tag bearing the code (AA) for association, at step (36), onto the particular instance of the asset (002). As mentioned before, the present invention, in its preferred embodiment, includes scratch cards for this purpose, whereby a user may print the same, or alternatively order a printed batch through the network-enabled utility (014). The scratch cards or other formats of the passive tags via postal delivery upon the owner (002) placing an order with the trusted service platform (022).
In the preferred embodiment, scratch cards are ideally intended to be provided by the GEOOWN platform to thereby provide a unique number code to the manufacturer to put in the pack with another scratch code which the owner uses to establish ownership. Only GEOOWN platform would know the scratch code and the object code handed to the manufacturer, thereby resulting in a secure double authentication system.
In the foregoing context, it shall be understood however that use of all other state-of- art coding and presentation formats including advantageous incorporation of any one, or any combination of, thermal transfer, ink-jetting, digital printing processes, mechanical engraving, laser engraving and traditional printing techniques are intended to be covered by alternative embodiments of the present invention. Alternatively, if the asset is intangible, such as a process / service, said code is associated virtually with the same, at step (036), to therefore result in a systemized environment of individually identified and traceable asset/s. Here, the user / owner (002) is required to maintain the active / passive tag as a tangible marker to identify himself / herself / itself for the service requisitioned (for example, carrying the tag on person while availing a loyalty scheme at a restaurant).
Depending on the asset (002) to be monitored like a child or a car or a boat of a cycle, the owner (002) orders a active tag for the specific asset (002). GEOOWN active tag is preconfigured for that particular item and the end user just needs to mount the active tag on the specific asset (002) to be tracked. The specific asset (002) has predefined parameters on GEOOWN server. The data from the active tag is directed to the specific owner who owns the asset (002) by the GEOOWN server. The data from the asset (002) is encrypted and the users uses two factor authentication on the GEOOWN server to ensure the data flows to the right owner. A two way communication channel using an active tag is done for critical applications like monitoring Alzeimers patients where a two way communication may be required. Standard active tags APIs can also be used to carry out predefined services for a specific industry.
The code (AA) is therefore traceable at each event undergone by the asset (002) marked with it, thereby creating a signature made out by the unique identification,
ownership, access rights, status, location and transaction history spanning lifecycle of the recited assets.
Implementation of the present invention preferably prescribes utilization of existing mobile networks. While the network-based utility may be hosted using a remote server (or same as that of an existing mobile network provider), a smart phone capable of hosting a downloadable thin client utility being slave to the server based network-based utility is all that is sufficient to commence use of the present invention.
Active tag of Figure 10 capable of wireless communications with the remote GEOOWN server is utilized for therefore tracking the goods in real time. As seen here, the active tag is an embedded electronic device of suitable form factor characterized in having on-board sensors for capturing and thereafter transmitting in real time to the trusted service platform (022), information pertaining to the status, location, temperature, GPS coordinates, access, act or part thereof transacted upon the asset (002) with which said active tag is associated
A remote trusted service operated using the GEOOWN platform, is envisaged which is enabled for hosting the network-based utility, and as part of execution of the network-based utility, communicating therein via wired and/ or wireless protocols with the smart phone/s running an instance of the aforesaid downloadable thin client utility. GEOOWN is intended to provide secure mapping of end-users to the identity of goods using GEOOWN algorithms for unique identification of products and services.
The trusted service (022) provisions APIs for each requirement of an industry vertical (Retail, Insurance, Manufacturing or Service Industry etc). Accordingly, there are common requirements which are catered through standard APIs across Industries for example like (Customer connect, location, loyalty, payment) and a set of requirements which are specific to that Industry like Customer claim, loss reporting and GEOOWN active tracking and data points for the Insurance Industry. Product recall, authenticity and recycling for the manufacturing Industry. Customer loyalty goods return and discount for the Retail Industry. Ticket booking, claim of a service, feedback process for the service Industry. These are specific APIs built. The architecture is based on the GEOOWN server which has inbuilt encryption and two factor authentication for each user.
The encryption of object data is based on the GEOOWN naming algorithm which gives an unique identifier for any object, in turn identifying the make of the good, the origination of the code from either the manufacturer, retailer, leasing company or end user and the specific manufacturer. Also the subset of the naming algorithm for the goods is used for the manufacturers specific product and its batch size. This enables to identify any object globally with a unique identifier. The end user can download the GEOOWN utility (014) either on a smart phone or use the web interface for communication. Machine readable GEOOWN codes can be used through the smart phones or GEOOWN codes could be used through a web interface. Multifactor authentication can be alternatively integrated to prevent the possibility of hacking a user through just passwords.
Accordingly, subscriptions and their scaling issues or their timelines, are minimal, if not at all present. Recursive data logging and/ or retrieval is facilitated for these users via over the air (OTA) communication networks. Point of use terminals, mobile devices and their like, which generally can host a SIM, are ideally intended for this purpose, however a dedicated device in possession of a user is also intended in a parallel embodiment of the present invention. The present invention makes use of latest state-of-art technologies in active tracking, goods naming and numbering from source and the inventive process proposed herein of naming and passive tagging integrated with Virtual Ownership in a seamless business model around identity of goods and people.
Example 2: Application in relation to insurance of assets
Figure 6 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be implemented, as per an isolated embodiment recited herein, in relation to insurance of assets. As seen in Figure 6, the traceability of assets across their lifecycles are made transparent via the GEOOWN platform (022) to subscribed actors including insurance companies (who provide insurance), manufacturers, retailers, users / owners (between whom the asset lifecycle occurs, and who therefore seek insurance), and police (or fraud investigation agencies). Information flows are represented differentially (as per legend) in said Figure 6. This application is intended as a way for insurance companies to lower self-risk payable when people lose their goods, being traceable globally using the GEOOWN platform (022) proposed herein. This benefits owners by lower insurance payouts.
Example 3: Application in relation to electronic payments
Figure 7 (a and b) comprises two block diagrams, wherein (a) depicts the value chain existing today; and (b) the value chain resulting from introduction of the GEOOWN platform (022) of the present invention, as per an isolated embodiment recited herein, in relation to electronic payments using credit cards where circumstantially the actors involved are the credit card company (who provide the electronic payment facility), the bank (who actually credit the electronically transferred funds), the consumer (who transacts the electronic transaction), a retailer (recipient of the electronic payment), a mobile company (which handles OTA communications for enablement of the card payment). Information flows are represented differentially (as per legend).
Furthermore, the accompanying Figure 8 is a flowchart depicting the manner in which the present invention is intended to be implemented, as per an isolated embodiment recited herein at figure 7(b), in relation to secure electronic payments, wherein the GEOOWN platform (022) acts as a secure intermediary service for identification of actors and the transaction involved. Bank ID, secure PIN, single time codes (STC) conventionally used while such transactions are thus not available with either the mobile company (MNO) or GEOOWN platform (022) therefore increasing the security of such transaction many-fold.
As will be realized, this model can then be used to introduce different processes around the identity of people and goods, like a theatre ticket or a hotel check-in process or a bus ticket process which uses your mobile identity as the ticket. A few other use-cases are listed below for greater appreciation of the principles underlying the present invention:
1) Manufacturers can upload data of assets produced directly on the network based utility
2) Insurance companies can benefit by lower self-risk payable when people lose their goods. This benefits owners by lower insurance payout
3) Retailers can get connected directly to the owners of the assets they have sold
4) Receipts for the assets brought from a retailer can be created or uploaded by the owner
5) Logging / transmission of sensor data like location of an asset, its temperature, pressure, humidity, luminance, battery charge on real time basis via integration with customized hardware adapted for such purpose
6) Reporting of stolen assets OR confirming authenticity of assets believed to be stolen
7) Finding details of true owners / recipients for return of misplaced / found assets
8) Ordering of spares / servicing via accurate identification of the asset by its unique code
9) Recalling of assets with direct message to the owner based on GEOOWN ID / Code (AA) without revealing the owners personal identification
10) Assuming electronic identity for a person for functions such as e-payments or bookings, considering that individuals themselves can be an asset registered within the system. Subscriber profile created at the time of registration and/ or biometric data can be combined here for accurate and fool-proof identification of a person.
1 1) Monetization of data generated by sharing revenue of the proceeds thereof with the subscriber base of the aforementioned network-based utility.
Salient features of the present invention are mentioned below for illustrating its overall ambit:
1) Ability to cater to an asset, irrespective to its nature, type, size or form
2) Ability to drive green recycling
3) Ability to facilitate Logistics and reverse logistics
4) Ability to provide for accurate and quick authentication of assets and the events they encounter
5) Ability to ensure total security as a trust chain for assets and the event history they encounter
6) Ability to comprise a bias-free communication platform centrally accessible to various actors involved in the practical lifecycle of an asset
7) Ability to constitute a business driver for adventitious enterprises especially for recycling of assets, active asset tracking, insurance
8) Ability to encourage greater intimacy and contacts between actors involved in lifecycle of an asset
9) Ability to identify the drivers and bring benefits to all participating segments of different user/ actor groups involved in lifecycle of an asset
10) Ability to assume electronic identity of an individual, asset or process had in their conjunction
Overarching the first process mentioned above is the principle of Virtual Ownership and understanding its drivers which motivates people to use the system. This is a key of the use of identity in a socially and morally acceptable view. The fact that Identity (Identity of Organizations lo, Identity of People Ip and Identity of Assets and Goods and Objects Ig, Process, Communication and Transaction go hand in hand is the key to virtual ownership along with how the data is shared with the specific identity and the virtual ownership of data which channels the profits generated thereof to the owner of the identity.
Overarching the motivators for people to use such a system is the drivers that motivates them to use this system and is embodied with the Virtual Ownership and the IPCT concept on which it is built. Identity of people Ip, Identity of Organizations lo and Identity of Assets and goods use different processes across their lifecycle. The ability to communicate the different data points during the processes to the rightful owner and the resulting transactions where money is exchanged also add to the ease of use for the owner. Right data at the right time during a transaction. Finally is the Ownership of Virtual data where the benefits from a revenue flow goes to the people holding virtual ownership. The different drivers for driving people to use the platform are ease of use and enabling monetizing own data for the virtual owners. These would be acceptable business models in the future.
As may be apparent to one skilled in the art from the foregoing, an able technology for harnessing assertion of virtual ownership of an asset is thus provided with improved functionality, durability and long service life than any of its closest peers in state-of-art.
As will be realized further, the present invention is capable of various other embodiments and that its several components and related details are capable of various alterations, all without departing from the basic concept of the present invention which will be limited only by the claims accompanying the complete specification intended to be submitted further to these presents.
Dated this 06th Day of May 2017
Abhijeet Sharaschandra Kelkar