Guardian Angels are smart, autonomous systems that are beyond wireless sensor networks in terms of functionality and powering, and include a higher complexity than the simple sensor nodes foreseen today for the internet of things. GA will strongly interact with the gateway and cloud layers, and the project will create direct benefits for the future of mobile computing, and more energy-efficient architectures for high-performance computing.
We are presently entering a new phase of ICT development that will drive growth and sustainable development for the coming decades. In the future, people, systems and objects will interact seamlessly with each other. Today, there are an estimated 4 billion mobile phone subscribers worldwide, and by 2015, there will be approximately 1 trillion connected devices in the world, which overall constitute an “internet of things”. However, current technologies are too energy-inefficient to capture the opportunities and the economic value associated with these changes. Massive improvements in energy efficiency and energy harvesting are needed to enable this new era of ICT.
A substantial and growing part of the total energy consumption is related to information technologies: the energetic cost of data processing, and along with it the cost of operation, are rising dramatically. They are projected to rise even further, unless disruptive technologies such as those proposed by GA are introduced to reverse this trend. Currently, it is estimated that the overall power consumption of electronic equipment makes up roughly 10% of power consumption worldwide while their energy inefficiency results in an energy waste on the order of 40-50%.