Wireless sensor networks, often considered a subset of cellular machine-to-machine (M2M) networks, are becoming more widespread but lack any particular killer application, according to a new study commissioned for the U.K.’s Office of Communications.
Researchers at electronics consultancy Plextek, who authored the report, found a variety of perception and technical issues to be overcome.
“There is much industry enthusiasm and a wide range of potentially innovative uses … However, the study found that it is the traditional sensing applications that are currently commercially exploiting the advantages of wirelessly networked sensors,” officials said in a media statement today.
“The lack of a killer application may be due to limiting factors such as the current cost of wireless nodes and a lack of understanding/experience by end-users, especially regarding real-world reliability,” Plextek consultant Steve Methley stated.
Looking forward, “one likely sign of a movement towards a killer application would be the involvement of major systems integrators. Such players will increasingly come on board when there is need to take a professional approach to defining, installing and maintaining substantial wireless sensor networks.”
One obstacle is some companies build applications on unlicensed spectrum, which is more prone to interference, he said. More solid adoption of the technology will probably happen in the 2011-2013 timeframe, when more spectrum is available, he said.
Similar hurdles such as a lack of awareness and technical standards are facing the larger overall M2M sector.