Sep 28, 2009
The use of monitoring technology to track objects, appliances, animals, and, yes, even sometimes people is a fact of business for many companies. Using tags, sensors, and chips paired with wireless technology, they’re gathering loads of data about the location, status, and other features of objects, ranging from tools needed at a construction site to a patient’s whereabouts in a hospital to cars backed up on a highway. Once connected, though, there’s the even bigger job of analyzing the information and getting it to the right recipients who can put it to use.
This is the nascent Internet of Things, where wireless networks of objects are being created using RFID, Bluetooth, GPS, and other technologies, working in tandem with cloud computing environments, Web portals, and back-end systems that seek out patterns of activity among the connected objects that promise to help enhance a range of business and other processes.
In theory, there are few things that can’t be given a tag or sensor and connected to networks in order to share information. Businesses could then track and monitor just about every product in the supply chain, so inventory stock-outs will be a thing of the past, lost shipments a rarity, and shoplifting nearly impossible. Counterfeit pills would be easier to spot, traffic congestion easier to avoid, and equipment easier to track and keep operating. Getting to this interconnected world, though, takes some effort.