Sensors Mag

A Little Help Here!

September 5, 2006 By: Wayne W. Manges

E-mail Wayne Manges

ISA's SP100 wireless standards committee is trying to do things right by learning from the experiences of those who went before it to create protocols. The vendors are doing their part, but where are the end users? Those deploying sensors stand to gain the most from well-thought-out wireless standards.

A Proposal Conference

Learning from DARPA, NIST, and other government agencies, ISA's wireless systems for automation standards committee, SP100, is planning a "proposal conference" to follow up on last month's call for proposals. The conference will offer an opportunity for 50 or more "intending" proposers (representing about 30 domestic and international organizations) to network and determine if combining efforts with others might strengthen the quality of the proposals. Remember that the outcome of the effort will be a suite of standards—starting with SP100.14 (protocols for industrial monitoring, logging, and alerting applications) and SP100.11 (protocols for control applications) —that can be used to improve the likelihood of success in deploying wireless sensor networks in specified environments and applications. If you're interested in participating, contact Lois Ferson at ISA ( and get ready for some rowdy discussions.

End Users Wanted

This is all well and good, but the committee isn't out of the woods yet. It's still struggling to get meaningful participation from the end-user community. The committee has been offered help by the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance; Walt Boyes, author of the Live Journal on Control magazine's Web site; and others, but there's still a shortage of end-user input. One thought is that the committee will create a special working group just for end users, which will give them a stronger voice in the management team and more opportunity to network with other users so that they can speak with a more unified voice. If you're ready to stop sitting on your hands and start being part of the solution, contact Dan Sexton at GE ( to volunteer.

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