Longtime readers have seen previous mentions of wireless sensor networks and motes by companies such as Ember and Dust. My last comment was here. One of the pilot projects has made really good progress and currently they have an online reporting system that tracks the status of temperature within a perishable pile of organic material to check for hot spots and spoilage.
If the company can find early indications of spoilage they can attempt to arrest the issue before the loss grows. Look at this report. If you navigate to layer 4, you can see a hotspot where the temperature is significantly higher than the surrounding sensors.
The application of these types of sensors in manufacturing and agriculture holds great promise for understanding environments at a system level and determining ways to solve problems before they start. Maybe this is why Robert Metcalfe of Metcalfe's law and Ethernet is spending his time on this kind of technology.