Energy-harvesting wireless sensors use micro-energy convertors — in the form of motion converters, solar cells or temperature convertors — to power sensors, switches and other devices. Unlike wi-fi networks, sensors and products communicate with each other by using wireless radio systems to transmit low-data messages over short paths.
In a flexible wireless energy harvesting system, products are interoperable, allowing equipment from different manufacturers to communicate and operate in one system. It is possible to combine a light switch from manufacturer A with a sensor from manufacturer B and a presence detector from manufacturer C.
The needs of a wireless network can change over time. When implementing a system it is essential to consider how it can scale with new functions, applications and devices at any time. All devices in an installation should be easy to remove and simple to install.
A wireless system can also be combined with wired data transmission to feed data into a building management system. For instance, transmitting sensor and actuator information across different buildings or several floors to or from a central point is likely to need a wired solution.
Ensuring remote sensors and products can interface with common building automation systems, such as BACnet, LON or KNX, will allow building users to monitor usage patterns and implement sustainable energy management concepts with reduced effort and expense.
By John Corbett, sales director UK, EnOcean