Monday, November 29, 2004

RFID Update: RFID ushering in the age of sensors

Distributed sensor networks are the wave of the future. And RFID will probably help build the infrastructure for them. Read Mark Roberti's article at RFID Journal.

Selected quote:

Sensor networks consist of wireless sensors that detect heat, light, movement and many other environmental factors. Also known as motes, the sensors gather data and transmit it from one node in a network to another and another until it reaches a node connected to a computer that can store and analyze the data....

Mulder believes that sensor technology will transform the way companies manage their assets. He gave examples of BP using sensors on railcars and motors on an oil tanker (see BP Eyes New Opportunities for more on the oil company's use of wireless sensors). Intel put sensors on some pumps within one of its own semiconductor plants and put sensors on grapevines in a California vineyard. Data was gathered and analyzed to try to improve maintenance and, in the case of the vineyard, ensure that the vines received the right amount of sunlight, water and other things necessary to the vines’ health and growth.

"It's all about productivity and efficiency," Mulder said. "Sensor networks have a transformational power that could boost world GDP by 10 percent or more."

I think distributed sensor networks have great potential for helping us manage the impacts of climate change as well as responding to industrial accidents and forest fires.

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