Wireless Sensor Networks

R&D Trends and Funding Opportunities

Published: Jan. 2009

Contributors: Mareca Hatler, Darryl Gurganious

Pages: 114 (24 figures, 13 tables)


Table of Contents


ON World's Research:
* Leading industry experts
* Primary investigation
* Network simulations
* Money back guarantee

Press release



Related Reports:

WSN for Smart Gov't Set
40% off 4 reports: Includes "R&D Trends..."

WSN for a Smart World Set
35% off 3 reports

WSN Power Set
25% off 4 reports

WSN Smart Industries Set
25% off 3 reports

802.15.4 & ZigBee
Smart Homes
AMI & Demand Response
Smart Industries
Oil & Gas
Smart Buildings
Smart Cities

Smart Crops

$999 (multi-user license)
$499 (single user license)


With markets reeling, businesses and investors are relying on the public sector more than ever to set the priorities to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship that will lead to an economic recovery.  As a key technology in government’s major initiatives, investment in Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) research and development is growing in several sectors.

Including both public and private sources, WSN R&D spending will reach $1.3 billion in 2012, up from $522 million in 2007.   

A few of the WSN research programs with hundreds of millions in funding include:

  • EU's Ambient Assisted Living US's National Science Foundation
  • South Korea's Ubiquitous Sensor Networks

Representing the first phase of widespread commercialization, our analysis of hundreds of active WSN projects found a shift away from laboratory testing of networking systems and toward end-to-end solutions in real-world applications.  In addition, we have identified the major technologies and applications that will be receiving the funding dollars and creating new markets in the near future.

In this report, we provide an analysis of 350 individual R&D funded WSN projects, an investigation of over 100 universities and research centers worldwide, and an up-to-date review of the largest and fastest growing WSN markets.  We also provide the survey results with professors at top WSN universities that have provided a wealth of information about their current projects, technology focus, and perspectives on the challenges, innovation areas, and most impactful WSN markets of the next decade. 

ON World has been researching low power wireless and sensor networking since 2002 and this is our 20th report on the subject. 

Primary Research:

End Users:
600+ interviews with building, industrial, utility, and home installer end users

36 phone interviews with professors at leading WSN universities

Vendors & Experts:
400+ WSN manufacturers, software providers, and component suppliers

Statistical Analysis:
Analysis of 700 funded WSN research projects

Free Executive Summary:
Send us an email
"research" in the subject.

Report Overview:

Based on hundreds of interviews and 100+ hours of analysis on current WSN projects, this report includes the following:

Investigation & Analysis:

  • 36 phone interviews with professors at top North American universitiesEvaluation of over 700 WSN projects worldwide from internal and external databases Investigation and analysis of 100+ universities and WSN research centers worldwide
  • Nearly 1000 interviews with top WSN manufacturers, software providers, and component suppliers over the past 18 months

R&D Initiatives:

Analysis and summary of the major research and development initiatives and research centers worldwide, total funding, technology focus, and current research projects.  R&D funding analysis and projections from 2003 to 2012 by public and private sectors and by the major geographical regions.  

Funded Projects Analysis:

Analysis on nearly 700 active WSN projects (filtered down to ~400) on the technology focus, market relevance, innovation significance, and application area.

Survey Results:

Presented results from our interviews with 36 university professors including their current WSN projects, technologies used and planned, and opinions on the current challenges, needed innovations, and most impactful WSN markets.  We also asked their input on the most likely radios, protocols, operating systems, programming languages, and middleware features.


Summary of seven growing WSN markets including the commercialization status, key companies, market forces, industry alliances, and standardization situation.

Active WSN Projects:

List of the active WSN projects by region and by organization including the title, participants, funding amount, and dates.

Top WSN Universities:

Profiles on the top 50 US WSN universities with ranking based on the amount and focus of NSF funding, involvement with research centers, as well as the quality and quantity of WSN projects; Profiles on another 20+ universities in Europe and Asia Pacific, listed by region.



Table of Contents

Executive Summary

Global R&D Initiatives
Funding Trends
Public vs Private
Geographical Trends

United States
Funding Priorities
National Science Foundation
Department of Energy
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Labs
US WSN Research Centers & Organizations
Center for Embedded Networked Sensing (CENS)
Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS)
Engineering Research Center for Wireless Integrated MicroSystems

European Union

Funding Priorities
EU Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Research Programs
Ambient Assisted Living Joint Research Programme
ARTEMIS Embedded Computing Systems Joint Initiative
EU WSN Research Centers & Organizations
Mobile Information & Communication Systems (MICS)


Funding Priorities
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)
ARC Research Network on Intelligent Sensors, Sensor Networks and Information Processing (ISSNIP)

South Korea

Incheon Free Economic Zone
People’s Republic of China
Atlantic Investment Partnership (AIP) Innovation Fund

Funded Projects Analysis
Wireless Networking
Heterogeneous Networks/ Tiered Architectures
WSN Performance Test beds
Design & Development
In-Network Processing & Data Fusion
Emerging Trends & Future Directions
Cyber Physical Systems
IP Sensor Networks/Web Services
Mobile Communications
Power Sources

Survey Results
Respondent Overview
Maximum Nodes/Gateway
Most Important Innovations
Most Impactful Markets


Smart Metering
Commercialization Status
Regulatory Forces
Industry Alliances & Standards
UtilityAMI OpenHAN
ZigBee Smart Energy
IPSO Alliance

Industrial Automation
Commercialization Status
Regulatory Forces
Industry Alliances & Standards

Homes & Buildings
Commercialization Status
Regulatory Forces
Industry Alliances & Standards
ZigBee Alliance
Z-Wave Alliance
EnOcean Alliance

Commercialization Status
Regulatory Forces
Industry Alliances & Standards
Continua Health Alliance
Bluetooth Health Device Profile

Smart Cities
Commercialization Status
Regulatory Forces

Commercialization Status
Regulatory Forces

Active WSN Projects
Top WSN Universities

List of Figures

Figure 1: WSN NSF & EU ICT Active Awards, 2003 vs 2008
Figure 2: Global Annual WSN R&D Funding, Public vs. Private (2007-2012)
Figure 3: Global Annual WSN R&D Funding, by Region (2007-2012)
Figure 4: Cumulative NSF WSN Active Awards (2003-2008)
Figure 5: EU ICT Funded WSN Projects, 2003 vs 2008
Figure 6: Funded WSN Projects – WSN Technology Focus
Figure 7: Funded WSN Projects – Networking Solutions
Figure 8: Funded WSN Projects – Software Technologies
Figure 9: Funded WSN Projects – End-to-End Applications
Figure 10: Respondent Job Position
Figure 11: Respondent Department
Figure 12: Number of WSN Students
Figure 13: WSN Project Focus
Figure 14: WSN Radios Used (w/in 18 months)
Figure 15: Sensors Used with WSN (w/in 18 months)
Figure 16: Most Likely Protocols (w/in 18 months)
Figure 17: Most Likely WSN Operating Systems
Figure 18: Most Likely Programming Languages
Figure 19: Most Likely Middleware Features
Figure 20: Maximum Nodes Deployed/Gateway
Figure 21: Major WSN Challenges
Figure 22: Most Important WSN Innovation Areas
Figure 23: Most Impactful WSN Markets
Figure 24: Market Drivers by Segment

List of Tables

Table 1: Global Annual WSN R&D Funding, Public vs. Private (2007-2012)
Table 2: Global Annual WSN R&D Funding, by Region (2007-2012)
Table 3: Smart Metering – Market Snapshot
Table 4: Industrial – Market Snapshot
Table 5: Smart Homes & Buildings – Market Snapshot
Table 6: Healthcare – Market Snapshot
Table 7: Smart Cities – Market Snapshot
Table 8: Environmental/Agriculture– Market Snapshot
Table 9: Active EU ICT WSN Projects
Table 10: Active NSF Funded Projects
Table 11: Other Funded WSN Projects
Table 12: Top WSN US Universities, By Ranking

About ON World:
ON World provides global business intelligence on smart technology markets. Our research reports and information services are sold to Fortune 1000 companies, startups, and investors worldwide.

Questions? We welcome your questions on completed reports or suggestions on upcoming research. The fastest way to process your request is to send us an eMail

About Us Reports Customers Our Team