Barrels of chemicals that ‘talk’ to each other to improve safety and smart shelves that automatically log inventory changes are just some of the ways businesses stand to benefit from new sensor network technology currently being developed in Europe.
The IST-funded CoBIs project is going a step beyond existing Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) systems – the generally passive smart tags used to identify goods, pets and even people - to create Collaborative Business Items (CoBIs) that can shift a substantial part of business processes from resource-intensive back-end systems to systems embedded in the products themselves. With sensors, wireless communication and computing components attached, the goods or equipment become smart – chemical drums will warn operators when the storage limit in a warehouse is reached, if a leak occurs or if one is placed in the wrong location.
“What we are doing is making sensor network technology useful to businesses by creating a system that responds to the need for real-time information. It allows goods to act and react automatically to changes at the local level, and warn operators of the change,” CoBIs coordinator Stephan Haller at SAP Research in Germany explains.
Tara Morris | alfa
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