ISA100 Meets in Canada

The ISA SP-100 standards committee met for three days following ISA’s Wireless Summit. The first SP-100 committee ballot is scheduled to follow this year’s ISA Conference and Expo in Houston, Texas, October 2-4. The committee plans to demonstrate the ISA100 at the Expo stressing the readiness of the networking technology, and the cooperation among potential suppliers.

By Dick Caro

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The schedule for the ISA100 standard remains as previously announced: 


Principles of Operation draft  Q2, 2007
Principles of Operation release  Q3, 2007
Preliminary draft ISA100 Standard  Q4, 2007
Draft ISA100 Standard letter ballot Q4, 2007
 ISA100 Standard release  Q1, 2008
Test Plan  Q4, 2007
Test Procedure  Q1, 2008

To interpret this schedule: the Principles of Operation describes how each part of the standard will accomplish its work. The standard adds actual protocol specifications to the Principles of Operation. The letter ballot is the formal voting process used by ISA and all standards committees. This ballot will be conducted by ISA simultaneous with the ANSI (American National Standards Institute) Public Comment and Review process. This means that a very broad audience will be able to examine the draft standard in order to provide comments, catch errors, and recommend changes. The standards voting process requires all negative ballots to be accompanied by appropriate technical comments. Editorial comments with changes are also accepted, but are not sufficient to reject the standard. The committee must process every comment and make the suggested changes, if appropriate, and request any negative votes to be changed to positive if those changes are made. It is only reasonable that technical comments submitted without a suggested change in the standard will be rejected. The committee may also reject any comment with reasons for the rejection communicated back the source of the comment. [Authors note: WirelessHART is a private specification that does not need this formality for approval by its membership, but this lack of public review precludes it from being an ANSI standard.]

Meanwhile, the ISA Automation Standards Compliance Institute (ASCI) is facilitating the creation of the ISA100 Wireless Compliance Institute (WCI) for the purposes of administering the conformance testing of products to the ISA100 Wireless Standards. This organization will be responsible for completion of the scheduled tasks in the ISA100 Standards Committee work plan  called the “Test Plan” and the “Test Procedure”.

ISA has already begun the formation of WCI, which is administered via ASCI, an independent non-profit membership-driven organization. ISA will retain ownership of the ISA100 standard while the WCI will be responsible for the conformance testing of devices expected to bear the “ISA100 Wireless” compliance logo. This organization is expected to be somewhat similar to the Fieldbus Foundation in its responsibilities and governorship. It will be self-sustaining through membership dues and testing fees. The ISA is currently accepting initial donations from the automation controls industry as a demonstration of support for WCI. These donations are tax deductible and will be used to accelerate the completion of the ISA100 Wireless Standards.

 At the same time, ISA through ASCI is facilitating the business development and organization building tasks to form WCI. A separate solicitation for membership will be offered to the automation controls community to fund this organization, and to secure a seat on the initial board of directors.


Richard H. Caro  is a certified Automation Professional, CEO of CMC Associates. You can reach him at

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