I continue to sort through the industrial wireless sensor network landscape. There are signals about what is happening, but nothing definitive, yet.

Yokogawa, one of three main supporters of the ISA 100 initiative (the others being Honeywell Process Solutions and GE Sensing), joined the board of the HART Communication Foundation. This organization is the promulgator of the WirelessHART specification–the “competitor” to ISA 100. Speculation immediately arose among industry insiders about whether Yokogawa was abandoning ISA 100 in favor of WirelessHART.

That answer is evidently “no” given the latest release (see below) from Yokogawa. One person last week that I talked with in Hannover called Yokogawa the “Switzerland” of the industry. It needs to play all sides. By the way, nothing inherently wrong with that if there are sufficient engineering resources.

Speaking of Hannover, HART (both wired and wireless) was prominent in the Fieldbus Lounge at the Hannover Fair. The lounge, featuring also Fieldbus Foundation and Profibus International along with representatives of their vendor members, was busy ever time I went by.

There was a wireless area in the adjacent hall, but I never found the ISA 100 stand there. Most of the wireless there was cellular. My complete Hannover coverage will appear this week at Automation World.

I have often stated that politics and technology aside, market adoption will be the determining factor. WirelessHART definitely has that, while only two majors are still on board with ISA100. We’ll see how the market develops for the remainder of the year now that the convergence work under ISA 100 has failed.

Recent ISA 100 Releases

There are two recent releases relative to the ISA 100 standard.
Honeywell process reported it added over the air provisioning among other features to its offering. It says it makes wireless technology easier and less costly to deploy in large capital projects and monitoring-only applications.

Other features in Release 210 include a Gateway General Client Interface (GCI) and native integration of OneWireless field networks into Honeywell’s Experion Process Knowledge System (PKS).

Yokogawa Electric Corporation introduced its “Wireless Anywhere” business concept on the plant-wide use of ISA100.11a-compliant wireless communication technologies for both monitoring and control applications. The company states it will aggressively promote this concept to widen the use of ISA100.11a-compliant products and related services.

To this end, Yokogawa will develop “modularized wireless components” designed to help sensor manufacturers build ISA100 compliant devices. It will also undertake promotion of the standard in order to attract more members. Then, it will facilitate incorporation of ISA 100 into the host environment.

So things are still interesting in the wireless world.

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