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The Need for a Universal SmartSensor Network

Stephan Haller and Steve Hodges


The benefits that tagging technologies can bring to enterprises by bridging the gap between the real world and its representation in information systems has clearly been demonstrated by the work of the Auto-ID Centre and in many case studies performed by different companies. While RFID tagging currently receives a lot of attention, it is only one of many different technologies that may be used to get information about objects in the real world. In this paper, we address this much larger set of ‘smart sensor’ technologies. Each of these technologies typically has its own particular strengths and weaknesses in different application areas and under different operating conditions. Therefore, for many applications it seems sensible to integrate the data from a combination of underlying sensors to form a smart sensor network. This paper describes the underlying technologies that may be used to build a smart sensor network and presents the authors’ vision of the network itself, providing several example scenarios to demonstrate its utility. Potential problem areas are also discussed. A framework for a universal smart sensor network is proposed; without such a framework, the effort of integrating all the different sources would be prohibitive, resulting in the continued proliferationof inflexible systems that are unable to adapt to the fast changing business requirements of today’s world. We believe that the time is right for further study of the technology behind smart sensor networks and the applications for them.


Publication typeTechReport
NumberAuto-ID Centre Whitepaper CAM-AUTOID-WH-007
InstitutionInstitute for Manufacturing
OrganizationUniversity of Cambridge
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