What is a Sensor Mesh?
A Sensor Mesh is created through a combination of hardware components consisting of sensors, repeaters and a device that connects to the Internet. This hardware is made functional by a radio network transmitting and receiving software application that gathers the sensor data and feeds it through the Internet to a database that processes, stores and manages the data generated by the sensors.
Traditionally, high density sensor mesh technology has been used in environments such as manufacturing where various types of sensors are installed on the production equipment to provide continuous feedback on the functionality of the processes involved in the production cycle. Many of the sensors are small and located in areas which require them to be battery-operated. Battery life is generally not a concern because of the availability of ongoing maintenance for both the equipment and the sensors.
The biggest drain on a small battery powering a sensor is the current expenditure required for the actual radio transmissions of the data being generated by the sensor. Existing off-the-shelf sensor network applications have been designed to work with multiple types of data which requires that they have a large, overhead file structure regardless of the actual size of the data packets which they carry. Transmitting these large file structures causes a relatively rapid discharge of the battery.
How it Works
The challenge of establishing a sensor mesh in a multifamily building is that, unlike a factory floor, the tenants’ apartment units are their homes and it would be inappropriate to interrupt their lives through the need to replace sensor batteries every few months. Consequently, Sensor Industries has created our own proprietary and extremely sophisticated sensor mesh network software which we call SI-Mesh. This system has been specifically designed to eliminate extraneous file structures to transport the specific data packets generated by our sensors. This has allowed us to extend our sensor battery life to several years.
Because of the potential density of smart home sensors in a multifamily environment, SI-Mesh is designed to also be able to map out the transmission path of each sensor data packet back to our Internet Gateway where the data can be uploaded into our cloud-based database manager, SI-Data. Because our Unit Nodes can hear multiple sensors from multiple apartments, many iterations of the same data packet can be picked up by the sensor mesh hardware. SI-Mesh is able to discard all replicas of the same data packet so that only one iteration of the data packet reaches the Internet Gateway. This is critical because it would be extremely difficult to construct a database to sort multiple, replicated data packets.
Because of the limited accessibility of sensor mesh hardware installed in the multifamily environment, SI-Mesh can communicate bi-directionally so that we can automatically download every update of our SI-Mesh software. This gives our customers the satisfaction of knowing that their Sensor Industries sensor mesh is always operating with the most current version of SI-Mesh. With the expectation of continuing advances in smart apartment technology, SI-Mesh can lead the way.
The sophistication of SI-Mesh is what allows Sensor Industries’ products, such as our WaterR8 Water Conservation System to operate in the unique environment of multifamily buildings and complexes.