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ISA100 Holds Meeting in Mountain View, California; Strong Statement of Support from ExxonMobil in Opening Session

2/3/2009

Research Triangle Park, NC (3 February 2009) – The Wireless Standards for Industrial Automation committee, ISA100, held an important meeting 13-15 January at the NASA Ames Research facility in Mountain View, California. The meeting began with an opening plenary session, attended by 75 people. Co-chair Patrick Schweitzer of ExxonMobil opened the session with an expression of ExxonMobil’s commitment to the ISA100 standards development process.

“ExxonMobil views the work done in ISA100 as strategic. In the past we had made technical decisions on systems that were associated with proprietary solutions or were vendor specific. As many of these systems reach lifecycle completion it became apparent that reliance on technology that was supplier based was locking us into future decisions that were outside our control. Although we agree that legacy systems will be present in our facilities for the foreseeable future and we need to be aware of integrating old with new, it is the future we are looking to secure,” said Schweitzer. “ExxonMobil is supporting ISA100 as it views this open standards body as a vehicle where our requirements can be vetted in an open forum with an output that would ensure our suppliers will meet our corporate specifications through our influence in the process. Reliance on proprietary or consortia based specifications where we have no input or influence is a risk to future security and our commitment to excel and increase our margins. We feel this is the best option for us to continue to have freedom to operate and improve our operations.”

The opening session included updates from several major working groups and study groups active within the committee. The ISA100.11a work group, led by co-chairs Pat Kinney of Kinney Consulting LLC and Dan Sexton of GE Global Research, reported on their work to resolve the comments received in the last ballot of the draft standard, striving to assure understanding and addressing the main issues of buildability and interoperability, along with other concepts of interest like internetworking. Many clarifying edits and some normative revisions have been made to address buildability, and annexes are being added for profiles and default settings to address interoperability concerns.

Very productive meetings were also held by the co-existence working group, chaired by Kinney and Dr. Peter Fuhr of Apprion. The group is awaiting input on allocated frequencies for wireless in Europe, and is also looking into issues with near-field power transmission co-existence.

The Users Guide working group, led by interim co-chairs Marty Zielinski of Emerson and Walt Boyes of Putman Media, announced that it would be reactivating. The Users Guide working group will define a common vocabulary to describe the terminology associated with wireless technology in industrial automation and will provide use cases for the deployment of wireless. Their work will result in a series of recommended practices for each use case, focusing on design, procurement, installation, operation, and maintenance.

The ISA100.12 subcommittee, WirelessHART Convergence, is chaired by Paul Sereiko, an independent consultant, and Dick Caro of CMC Associates. The group is working on a WirelessHART and ISA100.11a comparison document to increase public understanding of the similarities and differences between the two groups. The group has also progressed on the evaluation of various user scenarios to help prioritize future work. The next meeting of this working group will be 12-13 February at the Crowne Plaza in Salzburg, Austria.

The Wireless Backhaul Backbone Network working group (ISA100.15), chaired by Dr. Penny Chen of Yokogawa and David Glanzer of the Fieldbus Foundation, reported that use cases were completed during the week and architecture work is now underway.

ISA100.21, People and Asset Tracking and Identification, is chaired by Dr. Peter Fuhr of Apprion and Nacer Hedroug of Eli Lilly. The group will release a real time location services technical report for committee ballot in the first quarter of 2009.

In addition to the active working groups of the committee, ISA100 also utilizes interest and study groups to explore potential areas for development within the committee, including groups dealing with Zigbee, Application Profiles, and Power Sources. All of these groups are defining a proposed plan of work and assessing the degree of interest in undertaking formal activity within ISA100 as working groups.

The committee’s next face-to-face meetings are scheduled for 19-22 May in Kyoto, Japan, hosted by Yokogawa; July in Zurich, Switzerland; and 5-9 October in Houston, Texas.

For more information about ISA100, visit www.isa.org/ISA100 or call +1 919 549-8411.

About ISA
Founded in 1945, the International Society of Automation (www.isa.org) is a leading, global, nonprofit organization that is setting the standard for automation by helping over 30,000 worldwide members and other professionals solve difficult technical problems, while enhancing their leadership and personal career capabilities. Based in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, ISA develops standards; certifies industry professionals; provides education and training; publishes books and technical articles; and hosts the largest conference and exhibition for automation professionals in North America. ISA is the founding sponsor of The Automation Federation (www.automationfederation.org).