- 1886 (homing pigeon)
- 1: relating to an animal's ability to return to a place or territory after traveling a distance away from it: a strong homing instinct.
- 2 (of a pigeon) trained to fly home from a great distance and bred for long-distance racing.
- 3 (of a weapon or piece of equipment) fitted with an electronic device that enables it to find and hit a target.
In distribution and logistics of many types of products, track and trace or tracking and tracing, concerns a process of determining the current and past locations (and other information) of a unique item or property.
This concept can be supported by means of reckoning and reporting of the position of vehicles and containers with the property of concern, stored, for example, in a real-time database. This approach leaves the task to compose a coherent depiction of the subsequent status reports.
Another approach is to report the arrival or departure of the object and recording the identification of the object, the location where observed, the time, and the status. This approach leaves the task to verify the reports regarding consistency and completeness. An example of this method might be the package tracking provided by shippers, such as Deutsche Post, United Parcel Service, AirRoad, or FedEx.
The international standards organization EPCglobal under GS1 has ratified the EPC network standards (esp. the EPC information services EPCIS standard) which codify the syntax and semantics for supply chain events and the secure method for selectively sharing supply chain events with trading partners. These standards for Tracking and Tracing have been used in successful deployments in many industries and there are now a wide range of products that are certified as being compatible with these standards.
In response to a growing number of recall incidents (food, pharmaceutical, toys, etc.), a wave of software, hardware, consulting and systems vendors have emerged over the last few years to offer a range of traceability solutions and tools for industry. Radio-frequency identification and barcodes are two common technology methods used to deliver traceability.