IBM is helping organizations work “smarter” through wireless sensor network deployment
As the cost of transistors has plummeted, businesses and governments increasingly are using wireless sensor networks to perform such tasks as identifying traffic patterns, measuring building electricity use, monitoring air and water pollution and tracking supply chains. These real-time applications can play a key role in helping businesses and governments work “smarter,” but difficulty in programming such networks has limited some organizations’ ability to take advantage of them. IBM Research scientists are helping clients use a new wireless sensor platform called Mote Runner to harness the intelligence of sensors and digital devices.
IBM’s Mote Runner software development kit is designed to make wireless sensor networks easier to program and deploy by providing an open platform to connect wireless sensor nodes, or motes. To make it easier, IBM scientists developed a user-friendly virtual machine that helps shield developers from the software’s underlying complexity without compromising performance. The system requires minimal processing power and memory capacity, and can be operated using renewable energy sources such as solar or wind power. A simulation environment and Web-based dashboard allows for testing, debugging and maintenance of large sensor networks, helping eliminate most programming glitches before full deployment.
In one potential application, high rise building managers could use the sensor network to gather real-time data, which is then fed into applications that monitor equipment, temperature, water systems and more. Another scenario may involve oversight of large-scale agricultural projects, where wireless sensors could help monitor environmental conditions and crop development. Wireless sensor networks may also be used to monitor environmentally sensitive locations with unique climates such as rain forests or glaciers. Mote Runner is designed to accommodate cases such as these, which involve sensor deployment over a large area, by allowing users to reprogram or make other changes to the sensors wirelessly with minimal interruption in the network.
As organizations strive to improve efficiencies and increase cost savings through remote, real-time monitoring and analysis of dynamic environments, tools such as Mote Runner are providing a high-performance, low-footprint run-time platform that can be easily customized for use in a wide range of applications. To take advantage of Mote Runner capabilities, businesses and government agencies can work with IBM scientists and analytics experts to tailor wireless network systems to their needs, interpret the resulting data and use it to identify patterns and respond in real-time to changing conditions.
Mote Runner is currently available as a free download for non-commercial use at http://www.alphaworks.ibm.com/tech/moterunner. Sensors preinstalled with Mote Runner can also be purchased directly from MEMSIC, a global sensor manufacturer.
IBM Research Services’ complementary blend of world-class business and leading edge research expertise is helping clients develop “smarter” designs for more intelligent systems. For more information on how IBM Mote Runner can help businesses and government agencies work smarter, contact IBM Research Services today.