The ISA100 standards committee on wireless systems for automation has created a new subcommittee to address convergence of the ISA100.11a and WirelessHART standards. The subcommittee will compare the two protocols, building on the experiences gained with industrial applications of both standards, with an ultimate goal of merging the best of both standards into a single converged subsequent release of the ISA standard.
The move towards wireless connectivity in plant and process control is considered a step change in deployment but is not without controversy. Last September, work on the multi-vendor WirelessHART standard was completed in advance of the ISA 100 wireless initiative. The Wireless-HART standard is being promoted by ABB, Emerson, and Siemens.
The ISA subcommittee, which has representation from ExxonMobil and Shell Global Solutions, is concerned that there should be a single industry standard for process applications. The ISA’s current program is for approval and release of the ISA100.11a standard in 2008, followed by an evaluation of WirelessHART prior to convergence.
Pat Schweitzer of ExxonMobil, co-chair of the ISA100 committee, said, ‘Adoption of the ISA100.11a standard in 2008 will be an important step in fulfilling our ISA100 committee mission and of significant value to industry. This new subcommittee is the next logical step to helping industry fully achieve the significant benefits of wireless technology.’
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