Imagine wandering down the aisle of your food store with a cell phone that is capable of showing you a complete list of the stuff in your refrigerator. It may happen fairly soon.
Three technologies are converging to make this possible, smart appliances with Hydra software, smart packages with RFID tags, and smart phones.
We know that Samsung and other manufacturers have been working on refrigerators that keep track of their contents for a number years. And some of these models are now available outside of North America. But so far the information has had to be manually entered and it couldn’t be easily communicated to other devices.
The Hydra project, or what is being called the internet of things, is working to change that. It is middleware that will allow appliances, or really any device, to talk to one another. And in the case of a refrigerator allow it to act like, and be as accessible as, any other internet device.
RFID tag technology will allow packages to talk to the smart fridge. While they are widely used on pallets and other large quantities of product, and not yet in common use on individual food and beverage packages, this is changing fast. As the technology gets more sophisticated, smaller, and cheaper, this will allow for wider adoption on individual packages.
The last link in this technology is the phone. We know many companies have developed apps that allow a camera equipped phone to recognize a package on shelf. This is really just a simple extension of that functionality.