March 6, 2012 at 2:26 PM ET
In the future, just about everything and everybody will be tracked. That might sound creepy, but a consortium of companies wants you to embrace this reality and come up with innovative ways to leverage tracking technologies to improve lives, or at least make money.
Ideas are being collected for the Ideabird M2M Innovation Contest through April 10. M2M stands for machine-to-machine communications, the technologies that allow devices to communicate with each other.
Applications of M2M include global position systems technology used to locate trucks on highways or find sailors lost at sea. The once-hidden feature that allowed your iPhone to constantly track and record your location is also M2M tech.
The Ideabird contest hopes to encourage people to come up with untapped uses for this technology to track anything – people, animals, and objects of any size.
Submitted ideas are eligible for a share of $10,000 in prizes. The top three winners will be invited to present and discuss their ideas with the organizers at an awards ceremony and workshop in Germany.
"It could lead to employment with these companies; they are looking to find great minds out there outside of their own walls," Erik Feder, a spokesman for the Ideabird M2M Innovation Contest, told me on Tuesday.
The contest is sponsored by Deloitte, Deutsche Telekom, HYVE, and the RWTH-TIM Research Group. The companies retain rights to use ideas submitted for public relations purposes, but contestants must give consent for their ideas to be used otherwise. More details are spelled out the terms and conditions.
Among the more than 80 ideas submitted to date are:
Registered users are encouraged to comment on submitted ideas, making the contest an open platform for innovators to get feedback and exposure from people all over the world. It could also lead to riches.
"If the idea goes live," Feder said, "the idea owner will participate in the market success."
John Roach is a contributing writer for msnbc.com. To learn more about him, check out his website and follow him on Twitter. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.