Wireless instrumentation: Do we need to be concerned about the protocol?

It’s difficult to say what convergence of competing protocols will mean for wireless instrumentation users. Is there a value in waiting? Will changes in technology make it a moot point? Video: One vendor’s view suggests it’s more about the infrastructure.

06/15/2012

Flash is required!

Soroush Amidi explains Honeywell's view that users should remember that wireless projects can extend beyond instrumentation.



The negotiations to create a path for convergence of ISA100 and WirelessHART have been moving, apparently, but it’s difficult to see any indication if it. (Read an earlier article on the desirability of converging multiple protocols.) That in itself doesn’t mean much since it is difficult for outsiders to know what’s happening during a standard formation. It isn’t like watching a building going up. Users that want to experiment with wireless deployments or create full-blown installations can be forgiven for wanting to move forward, particularly since nobody seems to know what a converged standard will look like anyway.

However, convergence in and of itself is not my point. It looks like technology is moving in such a way that the two protocols can exist side by side and without anybody being particularly concerned. The infrastructure that works with wireless devices and gathers their information will operate with either and not care. Companies like Motorola and Cisco that make routers and such don’t want to have to pick sides. If they can create devices that work with all the protocols, everybody wins. This could prove to be a naïve viewpoint as technical issues could still emerge, but for now, it seems to work.

The Fieldbus Foundation has created its platform, Foundation for ROM, that works with various wired and wireless protocols. As long as you have the right gateway to talk to whatever you need, the infrastructure does the rest.

The attached video interview is with Soroush Amidi, who is one of Honeywell Process Solutions’ product marketing managers overseeing many of the company’s wireless offerings. Naturally, he argues from his company’s perspective, including a preference for ISA100.11a, but understands the reality that WirelessHART is firmly entrenched in the marketplace.

His comments suggest that the real heart of the discussion may relate more to larger wireless infrastructure projects. Create the infrastructure to support networking and the other things will fall into place. It seems that having wireless instrumentation is generally not the first thing that companies are looking for when they begin considering wireless deployments. They don’t begin with the question, “Shall we use 11a or WirelessHART?” That issue seems to come along later (if at all) after they have compiled a list of objectives in the process of exploring a larger project. There are certainly exceptions that begin with instrumentation but probably fewer than we realize.

Peter Welander, pwelander(at)cfemedia.com



No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
Each year, a panel of Control Engineering editors and industry expert judges select the System Integrator of the Year Award winners.
Control Engineering Leaders Under 40 identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
Learn more about methods used to ensure that the integration between the safety system and the process control...
Adding industrial toughness and reliability to Ethernet eGuide
Technological advances like multiple-in-multiple-out (MIMO) transmitting and receiving
Virtualization advice: 4 ways splitting servers can help manufacturing; Efficient motion controls; Fill the brain drain; Learn from the HART Plant of the Year
Two sides to process safety: Combining human and technical factors in your program; Preparing HMI graphics for migrations; Mechatronics and safety; Engineers' Choice Awards
Detecting security breaches: Forensic invenstigations depend on knowing your networks inside and out; Wireless workers; Opening robotic control; Product exclusive: Robust encoders
The Ask Control Engineering blog covers all aspects of automation, including motors, drives, sensors, motion control, machine control, and embedded systems.
Join this ongoing discussion of machine guarding topics, including solutions assessments, regulatory compliance, gap analysis...
News and comments from Control Engineering process industries editor, Peter Welander.
IMS Research, recently acquired by IHS Inc., is a leading independent supplier of market research and consultancy to the global electronics industry.
This is a blog from the trenches – written by engineers who are implementing and upgrading control systems every day across every industry.
Anthony Baker is a fictitious aggregation of experts from Callisto Integration, providing manufacturing consulting and systems integration.
Integrator Guide

Integrator Guide

Search the online Automation Integrator Guide
 

Create New Listing

Visit the System Integrators page to view past winners of Control Engineering's System Integrator of the Year Award and learn how to enter the competition. You will also find more information on system integrators and Control System Integrators Association.

Case Study Database

Case Study Database

Get more exposure for your case study by uploading it to the Control Engineering case study database, where end-users can identify relevant solutions and explore what the experts are doing to effectively implement a variety of technology and productivity related projects.

These case studies provide examples of how knowledgeable solution providers have used technology, processes and people to create effective and successful implementations in real-world situations. Case studies can be completed by filling out a simple online form where you can outline the project title, abstract, and full story in 1500 words or less; upload photos, videos and a logo.

Click here to visit the Case Study Database and upload your case study.