Standards such as OGC SWE and IEEE 1451 strive to integrate diverse instruments into networks with minimal human effort and high reliability. Use of these standards requires several software components that must be installed on the instrument network, including instrument "drivers", web servers, and metadata documents that describe instruments in a standard way. Most instrument networks today require careful manual installation and configuration by technicians to assure that the software components are properly associated with the physical instruments that they represent. In some oceanographic applications, these installation and configuration steps often must be performed in shipboard environments that are physiologically and psychologically challenging, thus increasing the possibility of human procedural errors.

PUCK addresses these installation and configuration challenges by defining a standard instrument protocol to store and automatically retrieve metadata and other information from the instrument device itself. This information can include OGC SWE SensorML and IEEE 1451 Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) documents, as well as actual instrument “driver” code. A host computer that understands PUCK protocol can automatically retrieve and utilize this information from the instrument itself when the device is plugged in.  For example, components required by OGC SWE and IEEE 1451 can be physically stored with instruments and sensors and automatically installed on a sensor network when the instrument is plugged in, thereby eliminating tedious and error-prone manual configuration steps. Thus PUCK supports and complements OGC SWE by simplifying the installation and configuration process, thereby improving reliability of the sensor network.