Pocklington firm uses superfast broadband to prove artworks are genuine fakes!

A Yorkshire business is using broadband powered technology to help a leading artist prove his fine art paintings are genuine fakes!

A Yorkshire business is using broadband powered technology to help a leading artist prove his fine art paintings are genuine fakes!

Pocklington based Agriyork400 Ltd - which supplies scientific equipment and laboratory supplies – has developed a hi-tech solution using electronic tags that provide paintings, by renowned copyist artist David Henty, with a secure digital certificate of authenticity.

David Henty is one of the UK’s leading copyist artists whose reproductions of great works of art are highly sought after by enthusiasts and private collectors and sell for many thousands of pounds.

The smart labels, also called radio frequency identification (RFID) tags – are intelligent bar codes that contain an antenna and a memory chip that stores data. They can be ‘read’ by a mobile phone or other enabled device and the data uploaded to the cloud[1].

Agriyork400 Ltd sales manager Duncan Carmichael said: “David is a highly skilled master copyist who uses his skills to reproduce Picasso’s and other famous artists’ work.

“The paradox is that he uses the tags to show that his works of art are genuine fakes! Because he’s signing these copies as the original artist and selling them for quite a few thousand pounds – he wanted to show in a trackable way that the work is genuinely his, especially as the copies are so indistinguishable from the originals.

“The tag on each painting is unique and cannot be removed or altered without destroying its ability to function. A buyer or viewer can ‘read’ the information from the tag with an app downloaded to their mobile phone. They then receive an immediate message informing them the painting is a David Henty original. When a phone viewer reads the tag, then David’s database receives an update so he has a record of which painting, where and when they viewed it.”

Duncan said BT’s rollout of high speed broadband had helped to make the tagging programme a success for the company which provides the service for a variety of customers, including scientific laboratories and the pharmaceutical industry.

Agriyork400 Ltd switched to a superfast connection last year and increased its broadband speed sevenfold.

The jump in speed and improved connection has helped the Agriyork400 Ltd team explore new innovative products like RFID and Duncan said it was the wider rollout of high-speed broadband across the UK that enabled them to market the service successfully to a number of their customers.

He said: “The core of our business is drug testing. Another of our customers is a laboratory that has a Home Office licence to obtain class-A drugs. The drug containers are tagged so they can be tracked and audited to prove to the Home Office that the drugs have been used in a legitimate fashion.

“The faster connectivity allows us to serve our customers in the way they expect. Thanks to the reliability, we are able to offer our customers the RFID service. It’s been a very popular move, and something all customers are expecting in this age, but it’s only possible with these faster speeds.

“We supply the hardware tags and the software programme. This cloud based system needs a good wi-fi connection. If someone takes a reading and it is not updated to the database then essentially you’ve not taken a reading and the system has failed. So it is pretty crucial to have a reliable broadband connection and fibre broadband does that.

“Superfast speeds are becoming the new standard which is why we are able to offer this service. We expect all businesses to understand the benefits so we would recommend others to upgrade too.”

The fibre broadband network being rolled out in East Riding by engineers from Openreach, BT’s local network business, is open to all broadband service providers on an equal wholesale basis and so local households and businesses can benefit from highly competitive products and pricing from a wide range of service providers.


[1]The Cloud: Cloud computing is the delivery of computing as a service rather than a product, whereby shared resources, software, and information are provided to computers and other devices as a utility (like the electricity grid) over a network (typically the internet).