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The employment of device monitoring, diagnosis and condition-based maintenance is one of the potential approaches for enhancing operational efficiency and reducing energy consumption of industrial machines. Industrial wireless sensor networks (IWSNs) for device monitoring are appealing to industry due to their inherent advantages compared with traditional wired systems, such as low cost, convenience of installation and re-location. In this paper, firstly the design requirements of IWSNs are outlined based on surveying application examples and commercial systems. Secondly the wireless protocol standards, current off-the-shelf wireless sensor platforms and prototypes developed by individual researchers for IWSNs are listed and compared. The paper then describes two techniques for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of industrial wireless sensors systems - on-sensor data processing, and a modified MAC protocol for improved real-time performance. Finally possible solutions to deal with particular requirement of IWSNs, including a system architecture and a novel protocol stack for a monitoring system are discussed.