In this paper we present a novel approach to designing sensors and instrumentation for monitoring and controlling multiphase processes. Our concept is based on using distributed sensor arrays, embedded within the vital plant components and thus forming smart structures. Distributed information obtained from such devices, coupled with appropriate data processing, could improve our understanding of the nature of multiphase processes and hence improve plant operation. We discuss the requirements for such sensors and, in the experimental part of this paper, present a short case study, conducted at UMIST Pilot Plant facility, to highlight the benefits of using smart sensing techniques in a process environment. We hope that this paper will open a general discussion on sensing multiphase flows.