Making the Internet of Things a reality

Wireless Sensor Networks’ key role

By Janice Blondeau

A new IEC White Paper highlights the role of Wireless Sensor Networks in the evolution of the Internet of Things.

Deposit photos, Internet of Things
...among Wireless Sensor Networks from different vendors and across varied applications

Integral part of modern life

Smart Grid, Smart Homes, smart manufacturing, smart water networks and intelligent transportation are just some of the infrastructure systems that connect our world more than we ever thought possible. Their deployment is inextricably linked to the Internet of Things and Wireless Sensor Networks.

From theory to reality

The idea of the Internet of Things (IoT) was developed in parallel to Wireless Sensor Networks (WSNs), and refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an “internet-like” structure. While research on Wireless Sensor Networks started in the 1980s, it's in the last decade that they have generated greater interest from both industrial and research perspectives.

The new IEC White Paper, Internet of Things: Wireless Sensor Networks outlines current needs for underlying International Standards and infrastructure that must be met before wireless devices can become as prevalent as predicted.

The big picture

Published by the International Electrotechnical Commission, this White Paper was prepared by the IEC Market Strategy Board (MSB) project team on Wireless Sensor Networks, in cooperation with project partner National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) of the US.

Says Kang Lee, engineer at NIST and NIST project lead: “We hope this paper will be a useful resource for a large and diverse community of stakeholders. It provides a much-needed, high-level perspective on the technology’s vast potential and on the standards-related tasks that must be accomplished so that we can realize it.”

Improved cooperation

We’ve been told that the IoT would embed miniature computers in all manner of objects – from the most sophisticated, such as aircraft, to the everyday, such as clothing and household appliances. Each object would be uniquely identifiable and linked through an Internet-like structure.

Given the growing number of uses of Wireless Sensor Networks, it’s not surprising that many different standards organizations address various aspects of the technology, some in isolation.

Interoperability across the board

This White Paper calls on standards organizations to improve communication and coordination, make unified plans, optimize resource allocation, and reduce duplicative efforts. It also assesses needs for International Standards to achieve interoperability among Wireless Sensor Networks from different vendors and across varied applications.

The IEC White Paper, Internet of Things: Wireless Sensor Networks can be downloaded here. Paper copies can be ordered here.

Gallery
Cover page. White Paper, Internet of Things "Internet of Things: Wireless Sensor Networks" assesses needs for International Standards to achieve interoperability...
Deposit photos, Internet of Things ...among Wireless Sensor Networks from different vendors and across varied applications
LG Smart Refrigerator at CES 2011 creative commons licence It on standards organizations to make unified plans, optimize resource allocation, and reduce duplicative efforts (Photo: David Berkowitz [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons)