Do you know where your beer is? Dutch beer maker Heineken wants to make sure - so it has put together a team that includes IBM and the University of Amsterdam to track beer by satellite.
Beer Living Lab is a pilot project that will track 20 beer containers shipped from the Netherlands to Heineken's UK distribution centre. Each container will be outfitted with GSM, GPRS and global positioning systems. Satellite uplinks will be provided due to particular technical problems with RFID, which can only be read when the tag is close to a RFID reader.
The data will be transmitted to a computer center hosted by IBM; the WebSphere platform will be used to run the service software.
Heineken accumulates up to five billion documents every year that are generated when its products pass through international shipping. Satellite tracking would help speed up deliveries and cut costs. The company hopes that this pilot program will convince manufacturers, shippers, retailers and customs to move to a paperless trade environment.
This is great for shipping - but what about beer tracking for the consumer? It happens that Koolio the Autonomous Refrigerator Robot is a mobile 'fridge that tracks its own position by sonar and OCR web cams.
Those who prefer soda, but feel left out by this high-tech beer tracking system, should console themselves with programmable soda that lets you turn the contents of any of these specially designed cans into exactly the flavor you wanted.
Reference article here.
(This Science Fiction in the News story used with permission from Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction.)