Wireless is getting more invisible, but it's also more helpful than ever. It's not logical that the more accepted a technology gets, the more it's taken for granted and becomes transparent—quite a trick for wireless that's already mostly unseen. However, in a world of alarms, runs to failure and squeaky wheels, it's apparently inevitable that quiet competence fades into the background and gets ignored. Just ask all the utilities and water/wastewater operators, most process engineers and every other support profession. They're all invisible until something breaks, someone doesn't get what they want—or a new crisis emerges.
In this three-part series, Jim Montague explores the ways in which wireless is helping operations overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, but also how this mostly unseen technology is continuing to grow and evolve to serve in new ways.
"Wireless has become just another networking choice. When we talk about it, we talk about the solutions wireless can enable, not if it's possible to use it," says Emerson's Shane Hale. Hale and Yokogawa's Penny Chen explain how this continually evolving technology is now common in operations, but still requires some basic decision-making for the best results. Read more.
Beyond launching new protocols and strategies, some developers are making gains by combining existing wireless methods in new ways. Honeywell Process Solutions and Phoenix Contact offer some examples. Read more.
Parallel to gaining acceptance and presence, wireless has also been adding new communication protocols and methods for traveling though the air. Some need less power, deliver more data, or are just better suited to particular environments, but they all give users more options for getting signals where they need to go. Here are some examples. Read more.