Heterogeneous networks, frequently consisting of
(partially homogeneous) local and wide-area systems, as well as wired and wireless communication systems, will become increasingly important. Future scenarios of distributed
automation require mechanisms for geographically distributed automation functions due to various reasons:
1) centralized supervisory and control of (many) decentralized (small) technological plants;
2) remote control, commissioning, parameter setting, and maintenance of distributed automation systems;
3) support of energy efficiency approaches by means of distributed control concepts;
4) inclusion of remote experts or external machine-readable knowledge for the plant operation and maintenance (i.e. asset management and condition monitoring).
We offer this “Special Section on Industrial Wireless Sensor Networks” as an attempt to provide some feedback on recent advances and technical challenges facing the adoption of this
technology. The section includes a diverse selection of five papers, and we trust that these will give the reader some insight into the current state.