As our world becomes increasingly connected, the integration of connectivity capabilities is becoming the standard, including for appliances like refrigerators and washing machines.
Wireless Sensor Network
A wireless sensor network (WSN) is a technological concept that may be the solution to maximizing what we’re able to do with widespread connectivity. In technical terms, a WSN is a distribution of autonomous sensors that collect information and then send that data to a core controller via a path created by a series of sensors.
Gateway & Sensor Nodes
It may help to think of a WSN as a collection of nodes. The gateway node, or master node, would be the hardware or software that facilitates communication between the network and your access point, which could be a desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone and so on. The sensor nodes would be aspects of your home, such as thermostats, lighting, entertainment center, freezer and so forth.
Node-based connectivity opens up many possibilities and will eventually transform the way we interact with the devices in our homes and workplaces. One of the great benefits of a WSN is the concept of data logging. For instance, a refrigerator can broadcast its temperature and the pressure in its filtration system, and that data can be logged and used by other sensor nodes and devices connected to the gateway node. The benefit of WSN data logging over conventional logging is that it provides a live data feed rather than data that must be polled.
Machine health monitoring is a feature built on data logging capabilities, and smart home systems are real-world applications where this type of WSN is already in use. Any device can integrate into a home automation/security system simply by having a sensor that supports the appropriate interface. From a central access point, which can include a smartphone app, the user can automatically access and manipulate the system. The system can also provide push notifications, such as for a door left unlocked or pipes so cold they’re ready to freeze. The security aspect can use the machine health capabilities to track smoke detectors and the like and identify faults before they become actual failures.
Voice over Sensor Network
Another exciting possibility is voice over sensor network (VoSN), which is a technology being innovated by the best VoIP providers. VoSN is still in the infancy stages but will eventually be able to support the real-time streaming of audio and even video from and through sensor nodes, and this capability will eventually reshape the versatility of and how we connect to our VoIP services.
Hayley is a freelance blogger, writing on behalf of Megapath.