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Intel, ADT Prep Future Sensor Networks

Intel Corp. and ADT Security Services Inc. plan to explore distributed computing models that would allow companies to build networks based on input from multiple types of sensors, company executives told TechWeb.

The ability to communicate and process data collected from motes, radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and other types of sensors would enable companies to build networks that hand-off information to different infrastructure layers as needed.

Motes, essentially small computing platforms, can self-configure themselves. They have logic to communicate with other sensors on the network and know when and how to pass data to applications. Tim Chandler, Intel's RFID and sensor networks chief architect, said the technology fits nicely into the company's "silicon building block" strategy.

Although executives have marveled at the tracking capabilities RFID brings, sensor networks will make the technology appear elementary. "If you think about just reading some tags on boxes going through the supply chain and rolling up the data into a platform, you're missing the true value," Chandler said. "Reading a box is nice. But what could I do with that information? Can I affect change, match it with other data at the edge of the network, and drive significant new business processes?"

It's not just about supply chain re-engineering or pushing up the data into the company's enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. Rather, it's thinking about all the possible applications the information will enable as companies get more comfortable about acquiring data at the network's edge.

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