Walt Boyes Reports on Honeywell Wireless Panel

Walt has just submitted this report on a wireless roundtable discussion from the Honeywell user conference. Seems the notion of one wireless standard is out there among the troops, if not among all the vendors.

Money quotes:

1. Pat Schweitzer noted that he and fellow ExxonMobil engineering leader Johan Nye had discovered that there was really no concrete proposal for what convergence between ISA100.11a and WirelessHART would look like, "so we wrote one."x

"We found that all the end users we talked to not only had concerns and ideas on how to move forward but they had exactly the same ideas we did,"Schweitzer said. "We talked to NAMUR, the German petrochemical user group and quasi-standard body and to WIB, the Dutch-based instrument testing organization, and they said clearly, 'We want a single wireless standard.' They didn’t say what that standard would look like, just that they wanted a single standard. NAMUR is issuing a report next week, NE133, which defines what a wireless system should be capable of doing."

2. Hopfe claimed the dawning of a new day of cooperation between the major vendors on finding a way to convergence and a single wireless standard. "There are goodnesses in both standards. We need to find a way to use the best of both."x

Rogowski declared that his customers are demanding ISA 100.11a, but that pieces of both standards can be merged together to provide the single standard every user wants.

3. Pulling the discussion together, Schweitzer explained that there are currently two efforts going on. The first is the "maintenance activity" that resulted from the refusal of ANSI to approve the existing ISA100 standard. Rather than continue the argument, ISA withdrew the .11a-2009 standard and will re-submit after the standard has been corrected. This, he hopes, will happen by the end of the year. The second effort is the convergence effort spearheaded by the ISA100.12 committee. This may have an effect on the timing of the re-submittal to ANSI, also, Schweitzer explained.

4. The panel agreed they were working somewhat against the clock with respect to convergence. Hopfe said that it was, he felt, possible to beat the clock. "We’re still in the early adopter phase. There are no enormous installations of any wireless standard products. Your point is well taken, though. We need to act with a sense of urgency to achieve convergence between WirelessHART and ISA100."