Building Automation to Benefit From Technical Improvements in Wireless Sensors

Apr 25, 2005, 01:00 ET from Frost & Sullivan

    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
     Ease of deployment, retrofitting applications, and scalability of the
 network are going to be key driving factors for wireless sensors in building
     "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 situations.
     "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.
     Wireless 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.
 Executive summaries and interviews are available to the press.
     If you are interested in an analysis which provides manufacturers, end
 users, and other industry participants with an overview, summary, challenges,
 and latest coverage of Wireless Sensors in Building Automation - then send an
 e-mail to Magdalena Oberland - European Corporate Communications at with the following information: Full name,
 Company Name, Title, Contact Tel Number, E-mail and Source of Information.
 Upon receipt of the above information, an overview will be e-mailed to you.
     Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that
 produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters, and research
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     Magdalena Oberland
     Corporate Communications
     P: +44-207-915-7876
     F: +44-207-730-3343

SOURCE Frost & Sullivan