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Total asset visibility. The quest to know the position and status of items of interest at all times. Programs that largely achieve this - usually based on RFID with or without other inputs.
In the Gulf war, the US military had to open 25,000 containers just to find what was in them. The paper labels and manifests had been destroyed by sand and by handling. This was clearly a very serious and mission-critical failure of " asset visibility " and it is one of the things that has led the US military to become one of the most energetic pursuers of so called " Total Asset Visibility, TAV ", the dream being to know the location and status of everything in real time and at all times, right down to the cheapest, least-important consumable. There are obvious potential benefits. They include less danger, greater effectiveness, and lower costs. Less manpower is needed and tasks can be deskilled. However, in many situations TAV, or some progress towards it, can make new things possible. For example a rapid response force may be effective in some distant land when it was previously impossible to mount an operation in the necessary timescale.
Manufacturing industry, the medical services and many other organisations are keenly interested in TAV for reasons that include competitive advantage, service improvement, and the need to survive on slashed budgets. We shall see that many of these organisations need to develop the concept of the Internet of Things to achieve these objectives.