Making sense of sensors and sensor networks

From umbrellas that would update people about the weather to tunnels that communicate, from really small photonic integrated circuits to smart packages and even smart cows, the Intelligent Sensor Networks conference was an exciting platform where concepts and developments in Smart Infrastructure, Smart Industry and Smart Logistics were shared and discussed.

When I first received the invite to write about the Intelligent Sensor Networks (ISN) I dismissed it as being a highly technical conference. However, the word networks resonated strongly with me, especially since I had followed a course on Networks, Crowds and Markets last year. So I went through the website announcing the event and lo and behold, it was indeed a conference that I found exceptionally thought-provoking.

Heading towards the smartest square kilometer (High Tech Campus) in the world, I was deeply engrossed in my thoughts recalling the course and the details of the event on the website, trying to find commonalities. Would the event be too technical I wondered, and how could an event merge knowledge, business, technology, services, creativity and social issues?

All my questions were successfully addressed at the conference. The event included a seminar with keynote and parallel sessions in Smart Infrastructure, Smart Industry and Smart Logistics. There was also lots of networking opportunities and knowledge exchange. In fact, Philip Keenan from Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction mentioned that new business relations are built and new opportunities are developed at the ISN conference.

The first half of the day introduced changes in our everyday life that are facilitated by intelligent sensor networks. I also learnt that Eindhoven is at the forefront of Photonic Integrated Circuits. The ability to make the chips really small will mean significant developments and smart solutions in diverse areas including health monitoring.

The presentation on how the Amsterdam ArenA Innovation Center (AAIC) was implementing new unique smart city applications to improve customer experience while still managing and improving profitability, sustainability and safety was also intriguing. The human centered view on the world of the Internet of Things was also covered making the first half of the day very comprehensive and well-balanced.

In the second half of the day, parallel sessions focused specifically on Smart Infrastructure, Smart Industry and Smart Logistics. While the smart industry segments focused on subjects like process automation, advanced analytics and disruption in manufacturing, speakers from the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction lead the way in the smart infrastructure sessions. Speaking about topics like the challenge to make sure engineering data is meaningful, useful and accessible to those who need to use it, monitoring tunnel deformation with an unprecedented precision, the sessions were informative and interesting. Sadly, I could not attend the sessions on Smart Logistics but judging by the rest of the event, I am sure they were very good as well.

The 6th Edition of the ISN Conference was organized by Jakajima and is one among the many events organized to bring innovators from different value chains and professions together. These events foster innovations and help in creating new partnerships, new products and new services. Pieter Hermans from Jakajima was very pleased that the event was truly international and about the involvement of the University of Cambridge. He mentioned that the open structures and open networks together with the positive attitude in Eindhoven make it fertile for innovation and collaboration.

Mentioning that the city could do a lot more to position itself on the Global Map and think big, he was positive that Eindhoven is at least two years ahead in the area of Photonic Integrated Circuits and that is a promising sign that Eindhoven is headed in the right direction!

Namratha Rao
Stakeholder-centric Communications Expert

In the picture: Dr. Huub Ambrosius, MD Research Institute NanoLab TU/e. Keynote 2 ‘Application Specific Photonic Integrated Circutes’

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