Police investigation has come a long way since Holmes and Watson used simple deduction to solve their mysteries.

Cutting-edge technology now enables forensic scientists to use techniques previously only seen on fast-moving American crime investigation programmes. Now, thanks to developments in digital software, British police are able match shoe prints or tyre-tracks found at crime scenes within minutes.

Using this technology, a digital photograph of a shoe print or a tyre-track can be transmitted from a crime scene direct to a forensic bureau, where it can be accurately compared to a particular shoe or tyre model from a database of thousands. The information can be sent back to an investigator in the field instantly.

Although not as unique as DNA or fingerprints, shoe prints can provide good intelligence for the investigators and help link criminals to crimes. The fastest match of a set of "dabs" to a person using fingerprint software is 20 minutes and it is hoped that a similar speed will soon be possible for shoe prints and tyre-tracks.

Even glove prints might be matched using the latest technology. By examining weave-patterns or the rubberised patterns of a glove, this type of print can all be logged and matched to provide important evidence.

And this quest for quicker, more accurate traceability has permeated through crime to consumer goods.

The luxury brands market has been expanding globally in recent years. An increase in the number of branded items has resulted in complex supply chains and multiplied points-of-sales worldwide. This growth has also led to an increase in counterfeit goods that negatively impacts product brands. Luxury goods brands require new solutions to improve supply chain efficiencies, while helping combating brand theft.

An RFID tag is a microchip combined with an antenna in a compact package (RFID stands for Radio Frequency Identification); the packaging is structured to allow the RFID tag to be attached to an object to be tracked.

The tag's antenna picks up signals from an RFID reader or scanner and then returns the signal, usually with some additional data (such as a unique serial number or other customised information).
RFID tags can be very small - the size of a large rice grain - while others can be the size of a small paperback book.

RFID tags, when engraved onto the packaging of luxury goods or the luxury goods themselves, ensure the originality of the product and are counterfeiter-proof. The RFID tag identifies the product as genuine, and the encrypted RFID chip makes it very difficult for counterfeiters to recover data from it.

Whether it's tracing a criminal by the type of trainer they wear, or following the journey our leather handbags have taken, our demand for more traceability is now very much part of our need to know culture.

As you share more and more documents via email and shared databases with clients and colleagues, you need to be sure that all your documents have traceability. With Microsoft Word 2007, any changes from source to current version can be traced and tracked.

Document properties are details about a file that describe or identify it. Document properties include details such as title, author name, subject, and keywords that identify the document's topic or contents.

In addition to the name of the user and their initials, an Office 2007 document can contain many additional properties, which can be included within the document. These fields can be inserted in the cover page, headers, footers, and body text.

By specifying the relevant values for the document properties fields for your Microsoft documents, you can easily organise and identify your documents when required. You can also search for documents based on their properties. In Microsoft Office Word 2007, Microsoft Office Excel 2007, and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, you can view or edit document properties easily while you work on your document content by using the Document Information Panel, which displays at the top of your document in your Office program.

There are five types of document properties in the Office suite:

Standard properties
By default, Microsoft Office documents are associated with a set of standard properties, such as author, title, and subject.

Automatically updated properties
These properties include both file system properties (for example, file size or the dates when a file was created or last changed) and statistics that are maintained for you by Office programs (for example, the number of words or characters in a document).

Custom properties
You can define additional custom properties for your Office documents. For example, it is easy to assign a text, time, or numeric value to custom properties. There is a list of suggested names to choose from or you can create your own.

Properties for your organisation
The Document Information Panel can be customised so that any document properties that are associated with your files can be specific to your organisation.

Document library properties
These are properties that are associated with documents in on a web site or in a public folder. When you open a document from a document library in Office Word 2007, Office Excel 2007, or Office PowerPoint 2007, you can edit and update these document library properties in the Document Information Panel.

There is a host of other commands and functions relating to Office 2007 properties that can be covered on a professional training course. These include how to amend document properties, view these when you open or save a file, and change the properties for the current document depending on which program you are using within the Office suite. Holmes would have loved it.