The proliferation of wireless home security and automation sensors and devices, i.e., the so-called Internet of Things (IoT), has advanced the need for improvements to battery life. The cable industry has deployed IoT sensor solutions for many years (in home security devices such as motion sensors, for example), but it needs to reduce costly service calls for replacing batteries and to work towards addressing global environmental concerns regarding the disposal of spent batteries.
Currently, the capacities of inexpensive chemical batteries are reaching their physical limits, and the concurrent drive to create ever-smaller devices calls for further innovations to extend battery-powered sensor life. Chief among these is energy harvesting. This paper focuses on promising energy harvesting methods and solutions that may be applied to IoT devices. Business and consumer drivers for improved efficiency sensor-powering solutions are also discussed.
Sample test results examining both performance and economic impacts are evaluated. Of particular importance is an assessment of user and system operator experiences, the perspectives of time and cost savings. Finally, recommendations are proposed that identify implementation opportunities for Multiple System Operators (MSOs).