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Accenture's Robert Hasson"A light sensor can tell you if a door's been opened," which is useful in deterring theft or when handling light-sensitive materials, Hasson said. "You can also have weight sensors to see if the carriage has been unloaded. Once it has, you can bill people earlier, and see an immediate return on cash."
For a chemical company client, Accenture used satellite communications with a network of cars, solar-powered communications devices and temperature probes.
A ZigBee experiment to monitor the health of a vineyard, called Pickberry, combines data from sensors to measure soil moisture (left) and temperature, leaf moisture (center), air temperature and rainfall (right). The leaf moisture sensor mimics drainage patterns by letting water flow through a series of small channels on its face.
RFID and customer service
Accenture is also researching how emerging technologies change the ways customers deal with banks. "One use of the technology is to put passive RFID tags into loyalty cards," said Emmanuel Viale, senior manager at Accenture Labs. "One very intrusive use is to track people to know when they come into a branch, know what they're doing and push (advertisements) to them on screen." Passive tags could also be embedded in brochures that would send out a message when picked up.