ISA100.11a Working Group Releases Preliminary Ballot

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. The first draft of the standard has been released within the Working Group. This means that the members of the working group have been asked to provide comments and suggested changes to the group. This is called a formal comment period. It lasts for 30 days or so. Then the Working Group gets back together and either ignores or incorporates the comments and corrections and suggested changes into the standard. Then they release it again. Eventually, they become so comfortable with the standard that they buck it up to the whole committee. This is where the voting membership of ISA100 votes to make it a standard. There is the same type of comment period, and then a final vote is taken. The timetable when looked at realistically, won't have this final vote taken until probably February or March of next year.  The biggest thing that everybody has noticed in this draft is that there is no mention of WirelessHART in the draft specification. Many end users have expressed themselves vigorously that they believe that WirelessHART and ISA100 need each other, and in fact, several have expressed to me that ISA100 needs WirelessHART more than WirelessHART needs ISA100. At this point, there are not enough votes to pass the ISA100.11a standard, so everybody I am talking to hopes that there is a compromise effort toward convergence that passes really soon. Here's the text of the press release: ISA100.11a Working Group Releases Letter Ballot on Draft Standard First Formal Step in Gaining Approval of ISA100.11a Standard by ISA100 Committee Research Triangle Park, NC (15 May 2008) - The ISA100.11a Working Group, a working group within the ISA100 Committee, has officially begun its first letter ballot on its draft standard, the first in the ISA100 universal family of wireless standards. The ballot opened on Monday, 5 May, and will close on Tuesday, 3 June. ISA100.11a Working Group members may vote on the ballot, and may provide editorial or technical comments. "This draft standard reflects a collaborative effort between end users and vendors on the ISA100.11a Working Group, and that's what makes this standard relevant," said Jim Reizner, Section Head, Corporate Engineering, Procter & Gamble, and co-chair of the ISA100 Users Working Group. "The end user community will benefit from the ISA100.11a standard once it's approved, and we're on our way to making that happen." The ISA100.11a standard is designed to provide a wireless industrial process automation network to address control, alerting, and monitoring applications plant-wide. The standard focuses on battery powered field devices with the ability to scale to large installations. It addresses wireless infrastructure, interfaces to legacy host applications plus security, and network management requirements in a functionally scalable manner. "We're thrilled to release the draft standard for letter ballot," said ISA100 co-chair Patrick Schweitzer of ExxonMobil Research and Engineering. "The ISA100.11a contributors have worked very hard to develop an open standard that's simple for users to implement and deploy. This is an important first step in a thorough approval process outlined in ISA guidelines. We look forward to input from the working group members to ensure a clear, concise, effective standard for end users and suppliers around the world."