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For FedEx, mobility through sensor-based computing

For FedEx, mobility through sensor-based computing

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FedEx believes that sensors and the "Internet of things" will dominate its future mobility strategy, according to chief information officer Robert Carter.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- FedEx chief information officer Robert Carter said on Wednesday that his company believes that sensors and the "Internet of things" will dominate its future mobility strategy.

Speaking here at the Gartner Symposium, Carter discussed several topics including service-oriented architecture, cloud computing and the simplification of information technology.

But it's mobility that extends those systems to the point where packages are actually dropped at a customer's house.

In the 1980s, before the age of mobile phones, FedEx owned wireless spectrum -- and manufactured its own handsets -- in an effort to extend connectivity to the edge of a delivery. (That spectrum has since been sold.) As mobility becomes even more important, what's next?

Sensors, Carter said. Lots of them.

"The next era of the Internet is sensor based computing," Carter said. He held up a first-generation version of FedEx's SenseAware device, designed to be dropped into a package to relay back location, temperature data and even radioactivity levels if needed. (FedEx launched the SenseAware effort in 2009.)

The so-called "Internet of things" is one of the emerging technology themes at the Gartner conference. For CIOs, sensors can tie together many distinct corporate disciplines, including data management, analytics, business intelligence and customer service.

This post was originally published at ZDNet's Between the Lines blog.

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Larry Dignan

Editor-in-Chief

Editor-in-Chief Larry Dignan is editor-in-chief of SmartPlanet and ZDNet. He is also editorial director of TechRepublic. Previously, he was an editor at eWeek, Baseline and CNET News. He has written for WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, New York Times and Financial Planning. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Delaware. He is based in New York but resides in Pennsylvania. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure