2012 Outlook

As we start another year what might be influencing or significant in the area of networking this year? I have separated this into two broad categories of expectations or what I think will happen and wishes, things that I hope might happen or products that might come to market. Let’s start with expectations.


After much delay, the formation of the FDI LLC in 2011 means we should see the specifications and hopefully a demonstration product by year end. My fear will be that once the specification is released there will be a ‘battle’ between the 3 organizations on who will be the final authority on compliance.

ISA-100.11a will become an IEC standard. Unfortunately rather than follow the fieldbus model of different parts of a single standard we will have 3 separate standards trying to serve the same market(s). Perhaps next revision / maintenance cycle something along this line might be accomplished.

More Ethernet based field devices will come to market, though the challenge will continue to be which protocol(s) to support.


Like everyone else in industry it would be wonderful if we could end the “wireless wars” so that people can move forward with confidence with implementing this technology AND more importantly finding innovative ways to use wireless to provide measurements not possible with wired sensors.

Work starts on a series of Asset Management standards. How to implement, install and effectively use the diagnostic information in today’s smart field devices.

Release of a wireless backhaul standard that the control system suppliers support so it will no longer be necessary to treat access points as third party interfaces.

Time now for you to provide your ideas/ suggestions via your comments. I look forward to hearing from you. HAPPY NEW YEAR! - ian