Sensors Expo 2013 Wrap Up

E-mail Melanie Martella

Now that Sensors Expo 2013 is over and the dust has had a chance to settle, I thought I'd elaborate on some of this year's stand-out features. This year's theme for the show was "Sensor Technologies Driving Solutions," giving a hat tip to the fast-growing diversity of sensor applications being developed.

This year's show had a number of firsts: working with content partners to bring in a greater variety of material for the conference programs; expanding the Best of Sensors Expo Awards program; co-locating with the Intelligent Systems Conference and Pavilion; adding more technology pavilions to highlight specific technologies; and hosting the IPSO Alliance's IPSO Challenge.

One of the great strengths of the show is its ability to bring together companies and end users (and sometimes companies and other companies) to their mutual benefit. Whether it's an attendee who needs to sense a particular parameter and is trying to discover what are his or her technology options, someone watching industry trends, or someone trying to decide whether a vendor's technology is the right fit to solve a particular problem, Sensors Expo seeks to meet those needs. For those who attended, please let us know what you thought and what you found most helpful at the show.

The Rise of the IoT
The Internet of Things (IoT) is attracting a lot of attention, and although there is most definitely a lot of hype around the concept, there's also some excellent, solid work being done to implement real, useful embedded IP-based systems. According to Geoff Mulligan, of IPSO, "The IPSO Challenge is an attempt to show that IP-based sensor and control networking technology is ready and available. To that end, we decided to create the contest to find innovative uses of embedded IP implementations. We had entries from 16 countries, 11 major universities, large multi-national corporations, and small single person start-ups."

Three winners were announced at the show, with First Place honors going to Redwire LLC for its energy-harvesting wireless Internet current transformer that combines clip-on self-powered current sensors coupled with wireless communications to enable fast and easy monitoring of electrical loads for energy conservation or preventative maintenance. Second Place winner Colorado Micro Devices won for its CMD Asset Management system that uses a small, low-power wireless hardware node that can interface with IP-based networks for simplified product design. By using IP-based services, all devices can be managed from a central server located in the cloud. Third Place winner viBrain won for its Smart Lighting solution for Smart City street lighting. Smart Cities require efficient support for global communications and access to services and information. In addition, viBrain's system incorporates the Advanced Smart Lighting Profile for streetlights based on the IPSO Application Framework to provide homogeneous, interoperable, and seamless communication.

So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehein, Adieu
This Sensors Expo was also somewhat bittersweet for me, because it's my last one as the Executive Editor of Sensors. Yes, after fifteen years, I'm moving on.

I have strived to maintain the strong foundation laid down by my editorial predecessors at Sensors—Stephanie Henkel, Barbara Goode, and Tom Kevan—who introduced me to the industry and stressed that our most important job as editors was to find and supply the best and most useful information to you, the readers. That has been my goal, and I hope I have succeeded.

I also want to say a very heart-felt thank you to all of you, for making the last fifteen years so educational and so much fun. Attending Sensors Expo and talking with readers and companies has always been my favorite part of my job. Why? Because you do amazing things every day. Over the years you've willingly answered questions about your work, explained the technologies, and helped me to understand the applications and implications, and you did it all with patience and good humor, even when some of those questions were eye-rollingly vapid. You are some of the smartest, most helpful, and most generous people I've had the pleasure of meeting, and I thank you for educating me over the years.

I leave you in the excellent hands of the Sensors Expo team.