Below you will find, unedited, the text of a press release put out by ISA, announcing that the .11a Working Group has put out a preliminary ballot on the wireless standard they've been working on. It is extremely important when reading this press release to try to put it into context.
In yet another announcement that continues to bolster the new WirelessHART specification's market position-- and continues to underscore its reality---MACTek has released two WirelessHART products with availability in third quarter 2008. Why this is especially interesting is that MACTek makes no field instruments.
I haven't been posting much about the ongoing Wireless War. There are significant reasons for this, including the fact that I am a working and voting member of ISA100, and chose to do as much as I could within the committee. Recently, this incredibly disfunctional committee became even more so.
ARC estimates that there are over 50 million field devices installed. Roughly half of them aren't digitally-enabled, and cannot use WirelessHART or ISA100 technologies. In the new world of wireless, there is a need to be able to incorporate these sensors into networks.
From the press release: WirelessHART Technology Support Grows Worldwide (Austin, Texas, USA, 24 April 2008) Executives from leading process automation companies voiced their continued support and implementation of the latest version of the HART® Communication Protocol, HART 7 with WirelessHART™ capability, during the HART Communication Foundation press conference at Interkama+...
It is so important, both to Dick Caro and to me that we get this exactly right, that Dick's article has been subjected to one of the most intense editing processes I've ever put an article through. Comments were solicited from everybody involved in both SP100 and the HART Communication Foundation.
Hearking back to the press release ISA put out last week, it appears that the first draft of the ISA100.11a standard was NOT voted out of the Task Group in China as the press release indicated it would be.
The historical knock on WirelessHART (if a standard that's been in existence for less than a year can be said to have history) is that there is only one supplier-- one supplier for the silicon, and one supplier for the products.
At least seven and perhaps up to as many as eleven more companies expect to have WirelessHART products on the market by summer. You'll find out who all of them are as they give me permission to announce their products.