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IEC White Paper: Internet of Things: Wireless Sensor Networks

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White Paper

Internet of Things:
Wireless Sensor Networks


Today, Smart Grid, smart manufacturing, smart homes, smart water networks and intelligent transportation are infrastructure systems that connect our world more than we ever thought possible.


While research on wireless sensor networks (WSN) started in the 1980s, it's in the last decade that WSNs have generated greater interest from both industrial and research perspectives. This is due to the availability of inexpensive, low-powered miniature components like processors, radios and sensors that were often integrated on a single chip.


The idea of the internet of things (IoT) was developed in parallel to WSNs, and refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an “internet-like” structure. While IoT does not assume a specific communication technology, wireless communication technologies will play a major role in the roll-out of the IoT.


This White Paper discusses the use and evolution of Wireless Sensor Networks within the wider context of the Internet of Things. It provides a review of WSN applications, while also focusing the attention on infrastructure technologies, applications and standards featured in WSN designs.


Internet of things: Wireless Sensor Networks is the fifth in a series of White Papers whose purpose is to ensure that the IEC can contribute to solving global challenges through its International Standards and Conformity Assessment services.


This White Paper was prepared by the IEC Market Strategy Board (MSB) wireless sensor networks project team in cooperation with the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The MSB brings together the CTOs of leading international organizations.