What are smart sensors?

July 15, 2020


The world is getting smarter by the minute - at least when it comes to technical devices. Smart cars, smart buildings and even smart factories or cities are being touted. But what exactly does any of this mean? What features make a product smart? What differentiates a smart city from any other one?

A vital aspect of smart products is the fact that the term “smart” is not protected. It can be used by anyone as they please. Therefore, it is not always easy to identify what makes a product a smart one.

As far as sensors are concerned, the case is a little simpler. Smart usually means that the sensors can work and make decisions autonomously. The sensors thus does not need to be queried constantly, in order to find out if a threshold has been transgressed. A smart sensor will report such events autonomously. It is, for instance, possible to automate messages that are sent to certain recipients via email or text at particular times throughout the day.

In its most simple design, a sensor can also use sound- or light-signals, in order to draw attention to an alert. But is this still smart? A bimetal switch could offer the same functionality.

In general, the term “smart sensor” refers to processor based products. This does not say much about the sensor’s functionality, except for one aspect: Smart sensors can usually be configured, making it possible to adapt them to the intended application. This can make it a little hard to select the right sensor for a given job. We will therefore gladly advise you without any commitment.