Packaging for fast-moving goods will soon come with chips embedded, making consignments and even individual items easy to track from warehouse to drop-off.
International Paper, the world's largest forest products company and a packager with a dollars 7 billion turnover, will use a tiny chip made by Motorola.
When laid on paper, the BiStatix chip looks like a minor inkblot, but it is connected to lines of carbon-heavy ink that form antennae, ready to receive internet information from nearby electronic readers. Unlike a barcode, the lines can be read at any angle, and tampering with the pack can be detected because it breaks the antennae.
BiStatix tags transmit as well as receive. International Paper will put them in eight million tons of packaging - most of it corrugated crates.
BiStatix costs less than dollars 1 now, but it will take some years for it to come down to five cents. After that, your fridge should be able to arrange your yoghurt delivery - fast and fresh. email@example.com.