It still takes engineering!

I have been hollering about this for several months now...I even wrote an editorial lamenting it, "The Elephant in the Room." What is "it"? "It" is the fact that there is an incredible dearth of good engineering practice information for doing post-prototype wireless sensor and network implementations. It's all well and good to say that you can walk around doing the Verizon "can you hear me now" walk with a transmitter until you find the perfect spot to put it, but that isn't going to work when the technology matures and you have to come to terms with your EPC, your in-house engineering practices, your procurement system and your IT department. Despite the fact that ISA100's original charter was to produce this documentation, not to create a new standard, there's been very little done there-- a single Technical Report, written several years ago, exists. There are no coordination committees with ISA5 and ISA20, and there are no wireless sensor S20 forms, and there are no accepted methodologies for indicating a mesh network on a P&ID. This morning, Alan Autenrieth and Alan Fass from ConocoPhillips' Sweeny Refinery made a big dent in the problem with their presentation in the HUG general session. They described their work with wireless since 1984 that culminated in their becoming a OneWireless beta site. The great thing about their presentation, which you can read all about in the HUG e-show daily for today when it blasts this evening, is that almost all of the engineering practices apply regardless of which wireless standard you choose to implement and which vendor(s) you standardize on. These engineering practices they've developed will go a long way to helping you implement full scale wireless networks in your own facilities.

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