Friday, February 04, 2005

Smart dust: another step in digitizing and indexing the world

Electronic Business reports.
[S]mart dust, the nickname for wireless sensor networks, is already a reality. These networks of 'motes,' or small and low-power radios, monitor everything from the vibrations of machinery on a British Petroleum oil tanker to the efficiency of the refrigerators in a Supervalu grocery store. &helip;

The idea has since evolved into a line of products from companies such as Pister's startup, Dust Networks, and Crossbow Technologies. It has also captured the interest of companies belonging to the ZigBee Alliance, a consortium started by Philips Electronics to help standardize wireless networking over a limited space. The consortium intends to create standards for tiny low-power radios that are used in smart dust networks. ZigBee's software stack can be used to create radio networks, and companies can use their own software to create smart dust networks with unique features and sensors. More than 100 companies, including systems companies, sensor makers and chip makers, belong to the consortium. Estimates of the current size of the market vary, but Joyce Putscher, an analyst at In-Stat (a division of EB's parent company), predicts that the market for ZigBee devices, including smart dust, will grow to 150 million units by 2008. "The initial deployments are happening, all across the board," she says.
For more about digitizing and indexing the world, see Project Googlefox.

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