"Talkative" Smart Items
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.