UNITED KINGDOMWireless sensor networks (WSNs), which are self-organizing, self-healing networks comprising small "nodes," offer much potential for industrial, military, and many other sectors. Although appreciable sales have already been established, major progress depends on the success of standards and products achieving a 20-year life. The new IDTechEx report by Dr. Peter Harrop, Chairman of IDTechEx, draws lessons from the many successful installations of WSNs in the last year. Titled "Wireless Sensor Networks 2010-2020," the report examines complex standards in the WSN space with particular focus on WirelessHART, which is key to applications in the process industries in the short and medium term (see figure). In addition, it shows how the alternative standard, ISA 100.11a, is in need of some improvements.

The report also examines the successes of the various backers of ZigBee-related solutions and how they see the future. In addition, it addresses the challenge of excessive power consumption of these nodes, which have to act as both tags and readers. As for batteries, lithium-thionyl-chloride single-use versions have a 20-year life in certain circumstances. For many applications, however, rechargeable batteries are more attractive. With that said, where is the rechargeable battery guaranteed for 20 years in use? The report looks at the most promising battery technologies emerging in the next 10 years as well as battery alternatives. A discussion of the popular energy-harvesting technologies also is included.

The report addresses these issues and provides analysis of WSN projects and development programs including the creation of improved WSN components. It also profiles many suppliers. For more information, visit: www.IDTechEx.com/wsn.