Towards Large-scale Industry Deployment of Wireless Sensor Networks

TitleTowards Large-scale Industry Deployment of Wireless Sensor Networks
Publication TypeConference Articles
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsChou, P., J. Reason, and R. Crepaldi
Conference NameThe 22nd Modern Engineering and Technology Seminar
Date Published11/2008
AbstractA wireless sensor network (WSN) is made of small, physically distributed nodes. These nodes are equipped with a microcontroller and one or more sensors, and are typically battery-powered and communicate with other nodes using a built-in RF transceiver. With the ability to form ad-hoc mesh networks, the WSN technology promises to bring real-world awareness to the cyber space by continuously sensing of the physical environments that are difficult or costly to monitor using wired infrastructure. This talk will first introduce WSN as an emerging technology. We will examine a few early applications of the technology. In particular, we will deep-dive into an application for the freight railroad industry as an example to illustrate the benefits of WSN. We will describe how a proposed WSN-based sensing infrastructure could help the railroad companies improve their asset utilization, operational safety, and business profitability over the existing infrastructure. This on-board WSN-based infrastructure for freight trains, consisting of un-powered and unwired railcars, takes the advantage of the ad-hoc multi-hop wireless networking capability to provide continuous and timely data about the identity and condition of the railcars making up the train. We will use the application requirements to discuss the challenges that must be addressed, including overall cost, end-to-end reliability, latency in emergency alert delivery, and service longevity. We will share our observations on the state of the technology based on the experience gained from the development of a testbed for the railroad application, and suggest areas for technology providers and business leaders to collaborate to accelerate the development and adoption of the technology for business applications.
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