ISA100 standard compliant: but which one?

A really interesting view from Walt Boyes, on his Sound Off! blog, poses the question we have all been wondering about: when a standard is acknowledged as having errors, and is being corrected, what does compliance with that standard imply? See the original on

ISA announced a couple of days ago that a whole group of Honeywell and Yokogawa instruments and devices had completed WCI-compliance testing and were now certified ISA100.11a devices. That’s cool.

Or is it?

Which ISA100.11a were these devices certified against?

ISA100.11a-2009, which was withdrawn from the ANSI approval process?

ISA100.11a-2010, which is being re-written with some significant changes from the 2009 model year and hasn’t been approved yet?

ISA100.12, the converged ISA100 and WirelessHART standard which an RFP is just about to go out for proposals to create specifications to produce? (If you think that sentence is convoluted, just go watch the process).

Or are they certified to a variation of the ISA100.11a standard that the WCI has ginned up amongst themselves? Remember that WCI has no direct connection to the ISA100 standard committee and is a private, not for profit, member organization (just like the HART Communication Foundation).

Who knows?

The fact is, though, that announcements like these make the ISA100.12 committee feel like the Palestinian-Israeli peace talks. They certainly are not helping the cause of convergence one single bit, and they tend to make other vendors quite paranoid about the process.

Everybody who is involved in the “peace talks”– I mean, the convergence effort, would take it as a great relief if WCI and ISA stood down for a while instead of continuing to try to ram what is by all accounts a seriously flawed and unworkable standard down our throats.

I am speaking for all the end users here, and I quote Pat Schweitzer of ExxonMobil just as I did in the August cover story: “Technically there is no issue…The basic question is can the supplier community ever come together to meet the users’ expectations.”

End users want and need a single wireless field device standard. Based on results so far, IEC62591-WirelessHART is winning handily. If ISA100 doesn’t want to become irrelevant due to market forces, everybody had better up and support the ISA100.12 convergence effort.

If you are an end user, please write your favorite vendors and tell them you want a single wireless standard and you want a converged standard between WirelessHART and ISA100.

If you don’t make yourself heard now, you– and not the vendors– will pay for it in the future.

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