Thorsten Tritschler of ZEISER on why his company partners with 4ARTechnologies
ZEISER might not be a household name. But chances are that you’re interacting with their products almost every day: the notes in your wallet or your passport might well have been printed in one of their high-tech labs. Security printing and serialization aside, the company has also made a name for itself as one of the first providers of digital track & trace solutions. But while many pioneers flounder, ZEISER remains one of the leaders in its field. Since its inception as a small family business in Southern Germany in 1955, it has grown into a multinational player with a diverse set of products.
One of the architects of ZEISER’s success, no doubt, is Thorsten Tritschler. Since joining the company over 25 years ago, he has spearheaded everything from technical innovation and development right up to sales and global expansion. With a penchant for challenges, he has brought Atlantic ZEISER’s products to Russia, the Middle East, and India, for example. And, no less, he implemented track & trace solutions for industries outside the regular security printing sector, e.g. cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and even high-class wines.
Perhaps then, it is no surprise that Tritschler is just the type of CEO to seize upon promising new opportunities. One Friday afternoon in mid-June, he took some time out of his busy day to explain why and how his company supports 4ARTechnologies – and how blockchain might not just be the innovation for both the art world and security printing.
Interviewer: “What was your initial reaction when you were confronted with the proposition of doing a project in the blockchain/crypto space?”
Tritschler: “Before we were approached by 4ARTechnologies, my associations with blockchain were mostly Bitcoin, scams, and half-baked ideas. But of course, I was also very curious about it. I know pretty much all there is to know about track and trace and authentication solutions in our core business areas. But art – that was a brand new field for us to explore. Add to that a brand new technology promising superior security, and my curiosity was roused. And once I looked into the details of the project, I wasn’t disappointed. Quite the contrary, in fact.”
Interviewer: “It does sound like you were quite impressed – what was it that you found so convincing?”
Tritschler: “I was astonished to see that 4ART were proposing not just a technologically sophisticated solution for one problem in the art world, say, registration and subsequent authentication. Rather, they are applying this technology in ways that cover the entire lifecycle of a picture. Over the course of my career, I have seen many promising innovations. Still, technical sophistication isn’t always paired with a convincing business model – far from it, in fact. Yet here was a solution that serves all market actors. When I realized that, there was no question for me that we wouldn’t want to make that leap.”
Interviewer: “Would you mind explaining in a little more detail what exactly ZEISER is contributing to the project?”
Tritschler: “Of course. As you know, we have been building and refining track & trace solutions for almost thirty years, right from when digital transformation started gaining pace. So that is what we’re doing: creating APIs and the system that will allow artwork owners, insurers, logistic providers and more to know exactly where their picture is. In pharmaceuticals, we do that by printing a code on a pack. In this case, an image’s unique fingerprint is captured with the help of the imaging technology developed by one of our partners. That information is then processed with the help of our software – just like a code would be. So that is what we’re bringing to the table: together with a team of experienced blockchain engineers, we’re translating 4ARTechnologies’ idea into technology.”
Interviewer: “So what is the status of the project right now?”
Tritschler: “We’re right in the middle of development! Because the infrastructure and technology are in place, we won’t need more than another six months. That is of course incredibly exciting since many of our projects take a lot longer – in pharmaceuticals, you would be looking at many years, simply because of the way that industry works. Tackling a project in the world of blockchain is quite a highlight for me, I must say. It’s a perfect counterpart to the work that we are already doing. No doubt it will be a gamechanger for art – and for my industry, too!”