Keywords: Battery-Powered Sensor, Wireless Sensor Network, Energy Harvesting, Power Management, SmartMesh.
Linear Technology Corporation, a leader in high performance analog integrated circuits, announced the acquisition of Dust Networks, Inc., a leading provider of low power wireless sensor network (WSN) technology. The acquisition of Dust Networks, based in Hayward, California, will enable Linear to offer a complete high performance wireless sensor networking solution. Dust Networks' low power radio and software technology complements Linear's strengths in industrial instrumentation, power management and energy harvesting technology.
Dust Networks' proven, low power wireless sensor network technology extends Linear's product portfolio into key growth areas in industrial process control, data acquisition and energy harvesting. Dust Networks' ultralow power wireless systems complements Linear's analog and digital sensor interface ICs, and energy harvesting power management products in applications where measurement of physical parameters has traditionally been impractical or impossible.
With the growing importance of machine-to-machine communications to enable remote data acquisition, low power wireless sensing is an emerging solution for many end-markets, including industrial process control, building automation and data center energy management.
"Smart Dust" was first conceived by Dr. Kris Pister, founder and chief technologist of Dust Networks, as a simple way to deploy intelligent wireless sensors. Dust Networks pioneered SmartMesh networks that comprise a self-forming mesh of nodes, or "motes," which collect and relay data, and a network manager that monitors and manages network performance and sends data to the host application. This technology is now the basis for a number of seminal networking standards. The hallmark of Dust Networks' technology is that it combines low power, standards-based radio technology, time diversity, frequency diversity, and physical diversity—to assure reliability, scalability, wire-free power source flexibility, and ease-of-use. All motes in a SmartMesh network—even the routing nodes—are designed to run on batteries for years, allowing the ultimate flexibility in placing sensors exactly where they need to go with low cost "peel and stick" installations.
Dust Networks' customers range from the world's largest industrial process automation and control providers, such as GE and Emerson, to innovative, green companies such as Vigilent and Streetline Networks. Dust Networks' technology can be found in a variety of monitoring and control solutions, including data center energy management, renewable energy, remote monitoring, and transportation.
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Although there will be some transaction related costs, Dust's ongoing results are not expected to be material in the short term to Linear's financial statements.
Harry Forbes, ARC Advisory Group, commented, "Dust Networks has differentiated its wireless sensing products by significantly reducing power consumption with each new product release. This has made Dust a market leader in battery-powered sensor applications that require long device life, such as WirelessHART field transmitters. Besides a stronger supply chain for WirelessHART, the acquisition of Dust Networks by Linear Technology creates a broader product line that offers OEMs a combination of low power wireless sensing, sensor interfaces, power management, and energy harvesting."