Using Sensor-Based Networks to address Global Issues: Policy Opportunities and Challenges, 8-9 June 2009, Lisbon: Agenda


OECD Experts Conference

hosted by Portugal

8-9 June 2009 





International Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing, 23-24 September 2008: agenda

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The Experts Conference adopted a holistic approach to exploring sensor-based networks. Sessions 1 to 3 included an introduction with case studies and a panel discussion on the economic, social, and technical drivers, enablers and challenges, based on the following list of issues:

  • Recent developments in sensor networks.
  • Benefits and impacts of sensor networks.
  • Drivers and obstacles for innovation, such as the existence or lack of market incentives, new business models, and potential economic impacts.
  • Cost and return on investment in these technologies.
  • Infrastructure, such as Internet connectivity, bandwidth and addressing issues.
  • Information Security, such as challenges to maintaining confidentiality, data integrity, and data availability in a sensor-network environment.
  • Privacy, such as the protection of personal data, including the ability to provide control and transparency to users on what personal data is being collected and how it is used.
  • Interoperability, such as methods to allow different devices or networks of devices to communicate with each other.


Meeting chair: Luis T. Magalhães, President of Knowledge Society Agency, Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education, Vice Chair of the OECD Committee for Information, Computer and Communications (ICCP).


8 June 2009


Opening session

This session provided a “Big picture” overview of key global economic and social challenges that sensor networks applications could help address (protection of the environment, health and ageing, transportation and energy saving, safety and security, etc.).

Session 1 – Health and elderly care

Health care systems are subject to the burdens of increasing health costs and an aging population. One approach to slowing this trend is to maintain as many potential hospital patients as possible in their own homes rather than in the considerably more expensive hospital or nursing home systems. There are, of course, additional social and lifestyle benefits to remaining in familiar surroundings rather than the hospital environment. This session discussed the use of sensors to enable home-treatment and monitoring. Recent developments in information technology and telecommunications, including low-cost personal computers, advances in mobile communications, high-bandwidth connections to homes via the cable television networks, and of course, the Internet, have hastened the introduction of sensor technologies for home care.



Elettra Ronchi, OECD Secretariat: Introduction



Session 2 – Protection of the environment

This session looked at the development, impacts and outcomes of sensor networks that can be used to improve environmental performance in areas such as reducing green-house gases, improving energy efficiency and reducing environmental degradation.



Graham Vickery, OECD Secretariat.



  • João Barros, Coordinator of the Carnegie Mellon - Portugal Program, Associate Professor at University of Porto, Researcher at Institute of Telecommunications, Portugal.
  • Patrick Grossetete, Arch Rock
  • Lucio Soibelman, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, United States
  • Verena Weber, Chair of Business-to-Business Marketing, Otto Beisheim School of Management, Germany, consultant to the OECD.

Session 3 – Transportation

This session explored the potential benefits of sensor networks in relation to transportation including logistics and intelligent transportation systems that aim to improve safety, transportation time and fuel consumption.



José Viegas, MIT-Portugal

Speakers and Panellists:

Session 4 – Policy discussion

Session moderators summariseed the main findings of the three panels. Panellists addressed the list of issues (innovation, cost, infrastructure, privacy, security, interoperability) in a more horizontal manner, exploring the drivers and conditions for innovation, the relationships between public policies and innovation, as well as the role of the stakeholders.



Manuel Pedrosa de Barros, ANACOM, Director Communication Security Office, Vice-Chair of the OECD ICCP Working Party on Information Security and Privacy (WPISP)



In the conclusion, Luis T. Magalhães, the chair has summarised the key policy issues to be addressed in the future as well as highlight the possible role of OECD.





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