FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Monday, March 27, 2006

"Talkative" Smart Items

Call it "RFID 2.0" if you will, but even as RFID remains an emerging technology, the European Union is forging ahead with a service-oriented architecture that will allow "smart items" to communicate not just with a central reader, but with each other.

The Collaborative Business Items (CoBIs) project has been in development since 2004, and combines sensing and short-range wireless technologies to create a peer-to-peer network to observe subtle changes in the items' environment, and feed that information back to a central system.

The result would be to transform inventory items into individual nodes. The resulting self-aware network could detect unsafe conditions such as overloads or the presence of dangerous substances, prevent theft and loss, and be incorporated into smart clothing -- all presumably more effectively than conventional RFID technology.

Although those involved with CoBIs are confident that the technology will soon be ready for commercial deployment, a timetable has not yet been announced, and the number of potential users is unknown.

Source: ZDNet