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Sensors 2015, 15(3), 6818-6844;

Open Hardware: A Role to Play in Wireless Sensor Networks?

Advanced Sensor Networks Research Group, University of Pretoria, Lynwood Road, Pretoria 0083, South Africa
Department of Computer Science, City University of Hong Kong, 83 Tat Chee Avenue,Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong
Meraka Institute, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research South Africa, Meiring Naude Road,Pretoria 0184, South Africa
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2014 / Revised: 26 February 2015 / Accepted: 26 February 2015 / Published: 20 March 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wireless Sensor Networks and the Internet of Things)
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The concept of the Internet of Things is rapidly becoming a reality, with many applications being deployed within industrial and consumer sectors. At the ‘thing’ level—devices and inter-device network communication—the core technical building blocks are generally the same as those found in wireless sensor network implementations. For the Internet of Things to continue growing, we need more plentiful resources for building intelligent devices and sensor networks. Unfortunately, current commercial devices, e.g., sensor nodes and network gateways, tend to be expensive and proprietary, which presents a barrier to entry and arguably slows down further development. There are, however, an increasing number of open embedded platforms available and also a wide selection of off-the-shelf components that can quickly and easily be built into device and network gateway solutions. The question is whether these solutions measure up to built-for-purpose devices. In the paper, we provide a comparison of existing built-for-purpose devices against open source devices. For comparison, we have also designed and rapidly prototyped a sensor node based on off-the-shelf components. We show that these devices compare favorably to built-for-purpose devices in terms of performance, power and cost. Using open platforms and off-the-shelf components would allow more developers to build intelligent devices and sensor networks, which could result in a better overall development ecosystem, lower barriers to entry and rapid growth in the number of IoT applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: Internet of Things; industrial networks; machine to machine; smart grid; wireless sensor network Internet of Things; industrial networks; machine to machine; smart grid; wireless sensor network
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Fisher, R.; Ledwaba, L.; Hancke, G.; Kruger, C. Open Hardware: A Role to Play in Wireless Sensor Networks? Sensors 2015, 15, 6818-6844.

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