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Sensors 2012, 12(5), 6463-6496; doi:10.3390/s120506463

Evaluation of the Impact of Furniture on Communications Performance for Ubiquitous Deployment of Wireless Sensor Networks in Smart Homes

1
Department of Electronics and Home Automation, Furniture and Wood Technology Centre, Yecla 30510, Murcia, Spain
2
Department of Information and Communications Engineering, University of Murcia, Murcia 30003, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 April 2012 / Revised: 8 May 2012 / Accepted: 14 May 2012 / Published: 16 May 2012
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ubiquitous Sensing)

Abstract

The extensions of the environment with the integration of sensing systems in any space, in conjunction with ubiquitous computing are enabling the so-called Smart Space Sensor Networks. This new generation of networks are offering full connectivity with any object, through the Internet of Things (IoT) and/or the Web, i.e., the Web of Things. These connectivity capabilities are making it feasible to sense the behaviours of people at home and act accordingly. These sensing systems must be integrated within typical elements found at home such as furniture. For that reason, this work considers furniture as an interesting element for the transparent location of sensors. Furniture is a ubiquitous object, i.e., it can be found everywhere at home or the office, and it can integrate and hide the sensors of a network. This work addresses the lack of an exhaustive study of the effect of furniture on signal losses. In addition an easy-to-use tool for estimating the robustness of the communication channel among the sensor nodes and gateways is proposed. Specifically, the losses in a sensor network signal due to the materials found within the communication link are evaluated. Then, this work proposes a software tool that gathers the obtained results and is capable of evaluating the impact of a given set of materials on the communications. This tool also provides a mechanism to optimize the sensor network deployments during the definition of smart spaces. Specifically, it provides information such as: maximum distances between sensor nodes, most suitable type of furniture to integrate sensors, or battery life of sensor nodes. This tool has been validated empirically in the lab, and it is currently being used by several enterprise partners of the Technological Centre of Furniture and Wood in the southeast of Spain. View Full-Text
Keywords: Internet of Things; Wireless Sensor Networks; smart spaces; sensing furniture; ambient intelligence Internet of Things; Wireless Sensor Networks; smart spaces; sensing furniture; ambient intelligence
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Bleda, A.L.; Jara, A.J.; Maestre, R.; Santa, G.; Gómez Skarmeta, A.F. Evaluation of the Impact of Furniture on Communications Performance for Ubiquitous Deployment of Wireless Sensor Networks in Smart Homes. Sensors 2012, 12, 6463-6496.

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