Wireless sensor networking technology is taking off

By Maureen Aylward

Wireless sensor network technology is an emerging market with demand in network connectivity and battery-free technology. We asked our Zintro experts to comment on potential markets for this technology.

Michael Queralt, an expert in designing and implementing technology solutions utilizing decision engines and RFID technology to solve asset management, inventory, security, and people tracking issues, says that wireless senor network technology is seeing growth in several sectors, that include:

  • People tracking activities. The technology allows companies to map and understand their internal people flow to improve business process.
  • Elder care. The technology provides the ability to monitor elderly activities without being obtrusive to daily routines; therefore, elders are more comfortable and accept the technology as it enables an environment for independence. The sensors and applications record a person’s activities and can make basic decisions to ensure safety while alerting family members or caretakers.
  • Security. The technology enhances security as it provides limited intelligence to inert objects. This intelligence enables the user to understand location, record patterns, and sound an alert when something abnormal changes. By using wireless sensors, reliance on people is lessened and the activity that is captured, reported, and acted on is more accurate and definitive.

“I think we are at a watershed moment. As the technology improves, it is being embedded into many items that are consumed, while providing the building blocks for a intelligent network of sensors,” says Queralt. “This enables products to make real-time decisions and notifications, and it will create new ways of commerce, enhance security, and provide new levels of services to consumers, companies, and caretakers that until now have been too costly to develop.”

Trish Messiter, an expert in on wireless technologies, says that wireless connectivity involves various wireless technologies that provide long- and short-range connectivity between people and machines. This provides the ability to communicate, control, or enjoy music or video without physical connection. “Wireless sensors can be used for home monitoring and climate control applications, making them ideal for environmental monitoring,” says Messiter. “They can also be used in the early detection of natural or man-made events, such as floods, fires, explosions, and earthquakes.” She says that in her research she discovered that there will be nearly 16 billion connectable devices by 2020. “A great deal of these connectable devices will be wireless sensor network devices using active and passive (battery-free tags) RFID, ZigBee, and possibly other technologies such as Bluetooth, Metropolitan, or Wide Area Network technologies, or multiples of these, all of which will be dependent on application requirements,” Messiter says.

Arundeep Kakkar, a wireless technology expert, says that hard to service areas have found respite through the adoption of wireless sensor technology. “Wireless sensor technology revolves around the concept of remote sensing: sensing the data, transferring the data to an intended site, and processing the data meant to serve the relevant application,” he says. Kakkar sees the technology being applied in the following ways:

  • Transportation,
  • Seismic prone areas,
  • Security of business areas,
  • Security of residential apartments,
  • Building automation, i.e., lighting, HVAC,
  • Asset monitoring,
  • Health and fitness monitoring,
  • Consumer electronics,
  • Irrigation and agriculture,
  • Environment monitoring ,
  • Military applications,
  • Industry monitoring,
  • Electricity station monitoring, and
  • Structural health monitoring.

By Maureen Aylward

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