The battle lines are convergence for YOU, end users! #pauto #wireless

Colocated with the ARC Forum in Orlando, the ISA100.12 committee is meeting to evaluate the three proposals for "convergence" that were received as a result of an RFP.

The first proposal, produced by ABB, Emerson, Endress+Hauser, and Siemens, is based on the work of the soi-disant "Heathrow Group."

The solution they've proposed is to leverage on the existing IEC standard, IEC 62591 (formerly known as Wireless HART) determine what features in the existing ISA100.11a standard would be cool to have, and by means of a firmware upgrade, produce a second-generation IEC 62591 as the replacement for ISA100.11a. In addition, they propose to include convergence with the Chinese WIA-PA standard.

This would produce a single wireless standard, something the end users have been demanding for the past half-decade now.

The second proposal, produced by Honeywell, Invensys, Nivis, Yokogawa, Fuji Electric, Hitachi America and Yamatake isn't about convergence at all. Their proposal says very clearly that the solution is to adopt ISA100.11a as currently existing. They don't really say what to do with the over $100 million in IEC62591 devices already installed. They don't really say how they are going to get the IEC to ignore their existing standard.

This proposal would produce the many-headed hydra of at least 6 standards. This is something that the end users have been afraid of.

The third proposal came from GE, and suggests re-writing ISA100.11a to be an umbrella standard under which IEC62591, ISA100.11a, and WIA-PA are capable of being used in the same network framework with the same backhaul.

This proposal may function well, actually. It resembles the IEEE 802.11 standard, with multiple radios and multiple gateways. It will not, however, ensure interoperablity and intercompatibility, one of the major requirements from the end user community.

So, basically there it is, and no convergence for you, end users. Sigh.