Wireless Sensor Networks: New Emerging Technology Fostering Sustainable Development
|Sajid Hussain1, Imran Khan2, Charles-Antoine Gauthier3|
1 Assistant Professor; Jodrey School of Computer Science, Acadia University;
Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P 2R6 Canada; +1 (902) 585-1192; Sajid.Hussain@acadiau.ca
2 PhD Student; Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, University of Manitoba;
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2 Canada; +1 (204) 474-6610; Imran_Khan@umanitoba.ca
3 Program Leader, Wireless Systems; Institute for Information Technology, National Research Council Canada; Sydney, Nova Scotia, B1P 6L2 Canada; +1 (902) 564-2950; Charles.Gauthier@nrc-cnrc.gc.ca
|Many businesses view sustainable development as a non-value added activity. We believe that Wireless Sensor Networks (WSN), which is a new emerging technology that will impact society at the same magnitude as did the Internet/Web, will allow some sustainable development activities to be more cost effective, allowing businesses to assimilate sustainable development principles more rapidly. |
WSN may contain hundreds of tiny, low-cost devices that monitor physical attributes (e.g., moisture) and that self-organize into networks that can make autonomous decisions to turn on/off actuators (e.g., valves) that are part of a larger distributed control system (e.g., irrigation system).
With respect to agriculture, WSN assists in precision irrigation, pesticide treatment, and harvesting. This reduces damage to the environment by decreasing the release of harmful chemicals and diminishing the consumption of scarce energy; thus lowering operational costs while maintaining, or even increasing, crop quality. WSN can also benefit other businesses in the value chain, creating a more efficient and sustainable developed supply chain.
Regions utilizing WSN to achieve operational efficient and sustainable development activities will require seed capital to pioneer new products, services, and techniques. A novel approach to finance such entrepreneurial ventures is for national/international sustainable development organizations to sponsor regional SDSVC funds (Sustainable Development Sponsored Venture Capital) that allow local citizens to invest a small portion of their savings into the fund, which is collectively invested in regional businesses utilizing/supporting sustainable development activities. This investment model encourages local citizens to provide seed capital in return for socially-ethical and diversified investment product that provides revenue sharing opportunities and government tax credits.
Sustainable development proponents should leverage WSN to educate more businesses that sustainable development is a value added activity applicable not only to fertile high-margin regions (e.g., vineyards in Niagara, Canada) but also to semi-arid poor regions (e.g., staple-crops in Tumkur, India).