Companies have begun to realize that wireless sensor networks offer a chance to enhance productivity, efficiency and profitability, says OleumTech Corp., Foothill Ranch, Calif.

Wireless sensor networks are deployed throughout the process industries, including the oil-and-gas industry. Wireless sensor networks monitor, manage and control everything from tanks and compressors to generators, separators and wellheads. They offer advantages over traditional wired technology by eliminating the need for cables, allowing for cost-efficient network deployments. The wireless networks cover monitoring of near real-time process control, safety, regulatory and production performance. These systems also are being used in water, wastewater and other markets where hardwiring is the norm.

Thermal, solar and mechanical energy are the primary sources of energy used to power wireless sensor networks, but solar power is the most used and mature energy harvesting technique.