Wireless for . . . Whatever!

"The scary scenario for wireless is when everything works great as installed, but then a subsequent installation of air ducting, motors, wires, or an endless variety of other things knocks out the wireless links," explains Brian Mork, principal system engineer with 412TW/EWA Directed Energy. "The processes aren't in place at many locations to coordinate with the [new technologies], and yet the conflict will have real costs associated with making it right after the unexpected happens."

 Barbara G. Goode
Barbara G. Goode

Welcome to the premiere issue of Wireless Sensors, a new quarterly publication from the editors of Sensors, dedicated to helping you deal with problems such as this. Throughout the year we'll present application stories, Q&A with pioneers and experts, product information, implementation strategies and problem-solving tactics, and news on developments.

If you're thinking, "Didn't I see special issues on wireless sensing from Sensors previously?" you get points for paying attention. In 2004 we delivered two issues of a publication called Wireless for Industry. But while industrial environments will continue to be a breeding ground for wireless sensing systems, as the technologies mature (see "ZigBee Ratification: Here We Grow") and expertise develops further, applications will continue to expand into other arenas.

And so Wireless Sensors will cover all kinds of applications, from industrial to commercial building automation, to medical, safety and security, asset tracking, home automation, and beyond. Of course we'll continue to give our famous in-depth treatment to wireless technology topics each month within the pages of Sensors.

Between quarterly issues we will update the Wireless Sensors homepage (www.sensorsmag.com/wireless) with helpful information and links. There you will also find the digital edition of Wireless Sensors (and digital issues of Wireless for Industry). When a new issue comes out, you might find it helpful to search all the editorial content for a keyword, bookmark or add notes for reference, or forward the issue to a friend. If you'd like the digital edition delivered to you upon release, please sign up for a subscription (www.sensorsmag.com/wireless/subscription). And when you've finished, I'd appreciate hearing how you like the issue and what information you need but cannot find. Please fill out the survey at the end of the issue (www.sensorsmag.com/wireless-survey), or simply drop me a line.

Brian Mork did, and I'm grateful to him not only for the quote that started this editorial, but also for pointing out conflicting statements of cost savings possible with wireless sensor systems (in Wireless for Industry, Vol. 2, says that wireless technologies can "[reduce] wiring installation costs by 20%–80%," while says wireless solutions can "[eliminate] wiring and wiring installation costs (saving 20%–80% depending on the application)." There is a distinction. Mork notes that "too many years of watching my own budgets and projects surprise me made me immediately suspicious that 80% of a project cost could be saved by taking out the wires." I stand corrected!