End users to benefit from wireless standards committee work

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC -- August 2006 -- Over twenty companies from around the world have responded to the call for proposals from ISA's Wireless Systems for Automation standards committee. The committee is holding a preliminary proposal review meeting on 11-15 September 2006 at ISA in Research Trigangle Park, NC. 

The ISA-SP100 committee is establishing standards, recommended practices, technical reports, and related information that will define procedures for implementing wireless systems in the automation and control environment with a focus on the field level. Guidance is directed towards those responsible for the complete life cycle including the designing, implementing, on-going maintenance, scalability or managing manufacturing and control systems, and will apply to users, system integrators, practitioners, and control systems manufacturers and vendors. 

Two working groups of ISA-SP100, SP100.11 and SP100.14, simultaneously issued calls for proposals not only to provide input to the committee but also to encourage a variety of industry experts, who may not be members of ISA-SP100, to participate in this process. The CFP process solicited input to help solve critical issues associated with the deployment of wireless technology for industrial automation. During the evaluation process, preference will be given to proposals where sufficient technical detail and performance data is readily available to assess the validity of claims.

The number and variety of responses, with proposals coming from the United States, Canada, Japan, China, Germany, and others, ensures that end users will have their needs met by the standard.

"We're thrilled with the responses that we've gotten, because innovative ideas and full participation from a wide variety of vendors will provide industrial end users with the long term solutions that they are seeking," said Pat Kinney, Co-Chair of ISA-SP100.11. "After all, that's what we're trying to do here - create a standard that will satisfy the global industrial community."

The call for proposals was preceded by a call for end users to participate in an unprecedented use case effort to allow end users to describe their specific industrial wireless application requirements in their own words. The use case studies will provide real-world input to the committee's working groups. The use case project, a task under the Marketing Working Group of the committee, is well underway with over a dozen studies completed and several dozen more use cases pending from a variety of industries. 

"End user input helps us to define and validate the technical requirements for the standard and ensure that the proposals we've received do meet the needs of the end user," said Rick Enns, Co-Chair of ISA-SP100.14.

The committee will also to continue to seek direct end user input through other venues of participation. A survey has recently been placed on the committee's web site that enables end users to fill out a brief query indicating their wireless needs prior to the completion of an in-depth use case study. The brief survey can be completed at www.isa.org/SP100survey.

For more information about ISA's Wireless Systems for Automation Standards committee, the call for proposals, or the use case effort, please contact ISA Standards Manager Lois Ferson at (919) 990-9227.

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