LONDON, April 25/PRNewswire/ -- End-user demand
for a favourable cost benefit ratio is spurring efforts
to increase the reliability and affordability of
wireless sensors for building automation. Researchers
in Europe are responding to this trend with greater
technical sophistication in terms of better quality
signals and reduced attenuation.
"Although wireless sensors eliminate a significant
portion of the labour and wiring costs associated
with wired networks, there is still room for improving
power efficiency and the range of the wireless digital
signal transmission," says Technical Insights Research
Analyst Amit Jain (http://technicalinsights.frost.com).
Ease of deployment, retrofitting applications, and
scalability of the network are going to be key driving
factors for wireless sensors in building automation.
"Whether used in new construction or retrofit, flexibility
is the ultimate benefit in deploying a wireless system
as opposed to a wired network," says Mr. Jain. "These
sensors can be located - or relocated - to optimise
system performance, increase customer comfort and
adapt to changing floor plans."
With recent advances in wireless communications,
the availability of low-power micro-sensors, embedded
processors and radios is supporting the use of distributed
wireless sensing over a wider range.
Considering that wireless sensors may operate in
hostile environments, researchers in Europe are also
focussing on incorporating remote sensing capabilities.
In Italy, researchers are using a wireless local
area network (WLAN) for a distributed sensor application.
The proposed system uses a low-power radio frequency
(RF) WLAN that offers quick installation, modularity
and expandability in situations where standard communication
links are hard or impossible to install.
"The transmission protocol used is a simple reply-to-request
(RTR) protocol, which reduces the amount of data
processing," says Mr. Jain. "It also makes implementation
easy and cost-effective, without compromising on
the reliability of the system."
Remote sensing systems that help study displacement
and stress in civil structures are also gaining in
popularity. In such systems, the sensing area is
not limited to the point of contact, and this enables
recording measurements from a suitably safe range.
Researchers in Switzerland are striving towards
greater sophistication in fire detection and prevention
systems and are developing photoacoustic sensors
that also function as smoke detectors. These sensors
can discriminate between false alarms and real fire
"Since even vapours, oil droplets, dust and dew
droplets could trigger a false alarm, researchers
are programming the photoacoustic sensor to be highly
sensitive to black carbon produced during an actual
fire," explains Mr. Jain.
Apart from fire detection, there have been rapid
advances in wireless sensor technologies for monitoring
structural health. Nanotechnology is enabling production
of tiny sensors, which can be placed at various joints,
reinforcements and other places during construction
of a structure.
With most of the emerging wireless devices conforming
to industry standards such as the IEEE 802.15.4 for
radio communication hardware and the emerging ZigBee
standard for networking among devices, adoption rates
are expected to increase across a wider range of
building automation applications.
Sensors in Building Automation is part of the Automation & Electronics
vertical subscription service, and evaluates the
latest advances and upcoming wireless sensor networking
technologies in building automation. In addition
to discussing the various technology drivers and
restraints, the study covers research and development
efforts at various universities, leading companies,
and other research institutions across the globe.
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