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Wireless Sensor Nets Make Better Economic Case

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Beth Stackpole
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What's the real hold up?
Beth Stackpole   8/23/2011 7:25:20 AM
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Loring, you mention competing standards as one impediment holding back the adoption of  wireless sensor networks. If the economic case is getting stronger, what are the stumbling blocks around deployment given that the applications seem pretty compelling?

Loring Wirbel
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Re: What's the real hold up?
Loring Wirbel   8/23/2011 10:22:15 AM
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Probably the biggest problem in universal adoption is that there is no single protocol that is the equivalent of 802 LANs and the seven-layer OSI prototol stack in wireless sensor nets.  ZigBee is the most common physical and data-link protocol, though there's a lot of RFID, Wireless HART, NFC, etc.  Eventually, probably all such nets will use TCP/IP and have an IP address.  But the IP connection is not obvious because the cost of nodes needs to be so low.  Until the cost of microcontroller-powered "dust" drops, we may have quite a protocol mess out there!

Charles Murray
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Re: What's the real hold up?
Charles Murray   8/23/2011 10:45:40 AM
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Loring: In the RFID world, we used tto hear about "nickel tags." The belief was that when nickel tags arrived, millions of products would suddenly use RFID. Is there a similar price-point goal for microcontroller-powered dust?

Jack Rupert, PE
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Power
Jack Rupert, PE   8/23/2011 11:40:59 AM
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Loring, I agree that one of the main things holding back widespread use is the competing standards.  When I worked for an OEM, the customers always had some other idea in mind (and a lot of times it was whatever was "hot" at the moment".

I still think the other issue is the power source.  Once battery technology evolves to where you can get a reliable long-term (i.e., year+) or self-recharging source, this tech will really take off.

Loring Wirbel
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Re: What's the real hold up?
Loring Wirbel   8/23/2011 12:32:39 PM
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Chuck, I hear different numbers all the time, but I think people expect a fairly functional (8-bit?  16/32?  ADC?) microcontroller available in high volume for well under $1, say in the 30 to 50 cent range.  Whether the low end is feasible....

Loring Wirbel
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Re: Power
Loring Wirbel   8/23/2011 12:33:32 PM
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Thanks for bringing up the battery issue, Jack - absolutely critical.

soljacobs
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Re: Power
soljacobs   8/23/2011 3:23:00 PM
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There are lithium batteries that have non-rechargeable operating lives of 25 years. They are already used in wireless devices such as utility meters and wireless sensors by the millions.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Re: Power
Jack Rupert, PE   8/25/2011 12:10:51 PM
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@soljacobs Do you have any info on those batteries?

soljacobs
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Iron
Re: Power
soljacobs   8/25/2011 1:23:08 PM
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Pls go to www.tadiranbat.com or write to sales@tadiranbat.com for more info.

Jack Rupert, PE
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Platinum
Re: Power
Jack Rupert, PE   8/28/2011 2:53:43 PM
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Thanks.  I'll look into that....  (At the moment, it doesn't look like the website is working).

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