What is Wireless Network Sensing (WNS)?

Matthew WoottonBlog

Wireless network sensing is an upcoming class of sensing technology broadly referring to a means of using data generated by local wireless communication networks to produce occupancy information based on people disturbing the messages between devices. Like traditional sensors, it does not require the person to carry a device and simply senses their existence. Unlike traditional sensors, it uses data typically used to diagnose network issues to perform the detections, and thus is done purely as a software/firmware layer on top of existing systems. This allows quick and broad scale deployments on any hardware which produces sufficient data to allow detections by a given WNS technology provider. 

WNS as a whole allows for software defined sensing, producing data for particular applications. Different WNS providers will take different approaches here, but the technology can run the range of extremely responsive to extremely robust, with different detection models being tested and deployed against different application requirements all the time. Key differentiators in the space include compatible protocols, chipset compatibility, processing requirements, ease of deployment, and range of applications serviced. Basically, what can the technology do, and what can it do it on.

WNS changes the game for existing device manufacturers in a few interesting ways. It provides existing devices with sensing capabilities they never had, effectively deploying a fleet of sensors with the touch of a button. This allows new applications for old devices, potentially deriving additional revenue, and driving additional sales through improved product differentiation. As WNS is software defined, multiple sensing types comes from one set of devices, breaking free of the traditional one sensor for one application model. A new application is just an update away. If you make IoT devices today and haven’t looked at adding WNS technology to your platform, check it out before your products get left behind.