FedEx opens real-time tracking to aerospace, finance, arts industries

FedEx will open up its SenseAware service -- which uses sensors to track a shipment in real time -- to all industries.

FedEx first announced its SenseAware service -- which provides corporate customers with near real-time tracking for shipments -- in 2009 for the healthcare and life science industries.

Now the company is opening the service to all comers, including the aerospace, finance and arts industries.

The point of the service is that it gives companies more visibility and monitoring capability into shipments. At the heart of the product is a multi-sensor device that travels with the package, sending data to the cloud, from which a company representative can monitor it using a web-based application.

The device itself is pretty neat, and goes far beyond simple GPS coordinates (although if you ever "received" a package that never materialized, this in and of itself is a godsend): it takes readings for temperature, relative humidity and barometric pressure, can tell if and when the shipment was opened and, for film buffs out there, if the contents have been exposed to light.

Since the customers in question tend to ship highly sensitive or large packages (think pallets, not pouches), the device can also handle major shipments. And it doesn't require a major infrastructure overhaul: drop in the device, and let the sensors do the rest.

It's the future of shipping, really. Because with all of the connected technology at work around us, why should we resort to being left in the dark for shipments -- medicine, prototypes, encrypted hard drives -- that are critical?

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