Today, wireless technology is evolving rapidly. Past concerns regarding reliability, battery life, and cost have improved to the point where wireless is a practical alternative to traditional sensors in common applications. As a result, many new wireless zone sensors are now available. According to Frost & Sullivan market data, wireless sensor volume will approach that of wired by 2008.
Retrofits are among the most beneficial applications of wireless zone sensors. Wireless solves many initial installation difficulties and allows easy, low-cost relocation when the space is reconfigured.
Problems Wireless Addresses
Wireless can overcome three common problems: changing floor plans, challenging architecture, and high-risk projects.
Changing floor plans. Leased properties, offices, retail spaces, and other properties where floor plans are frequently moved require pulling new wire to, and re-terminating wire at, the desired location. With wireless, this project labor time and cost is eliminated.
Perhaps the most obvious situation where wireless sensors solve a problem is when sensors need to be moved. Copy machines, refrigerators, and other common equipment and appliances can cause inaccurate sensing. Initial placement may not accurately measure the space. Wireless enables flexibility to relocate a sensor with minimal effort and cost. Among the most beneficial uses of wireless zone sensors is in retrofit applications. Wireless solves many initial installation difficulties and allows easy, low-cost relocation when the space is reconfigured.
Challenging architecture. A building’s architecture and structure can pose wiring challenges for a number of reasons. Challenging elements include stone, brick, or glass walls, and atriums. “Cube farms” with large open areas or panels limiting airflow for wall-mounted sensors can be problematic. In some buildings, restrictions involving historical preservation prevent wiring.
High-risk projects. Tight deadlines and unanticipated surprises in building retrofits can cause cost overruns and missed project deadlines. With wireless sensors, hidden or unknown construction materials or asbestos may not need to be penetrated or removed.
Installing sensors at building startup and very near the point of occupancy is feasible with wireless. This can meet deadlines and minimize construction and painting damage.
A Wireless Future for Sensors and Building Control?