Oft romanticised around predicting the future (i.e., astrology), the use of stars is also more practical and arguably one of the oldest sciences there is given its propensity toward aiding sailors circumnavigate the globe as well as caravans deliver their when way points grow few and far between.
It was not until the early twentieth century, however, that space really came into its own.
This was thanks in no small part to the First and Second World Wars wherein pilots and navigators needed assistance not only finding targets and delivering goods, but identifying friend or foe in the sometimes not-so peaceful skies.
This technology, or IFF, morphed into radio frequency identification, or RFID, which continued to find extensive use in the military throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
From the 1960s through until the 1980s, this meant military loggies could tag assets with either a passive or active UHF antenna (i.e., putting the radio in radio frequency identification) that would transmit location to a reader when within the allocated distance so that some form of middleware could capture data confirming location so planners and schedulers could confirm an article was on schedule, on cost, and likely to meet its mission requirements.
Enter Wal-Mart in the late 1990s and RFID began to include even more affordable ways to track cargo in the form of barcodes, video recognition, biometrics, card technology, contactless, touch screens, and still more based on the simple premise of an asset ‘speaking with’ a reader via an antenna so as to be ultimate interrogated by a software platform.