I’ve had numerous conversations with Honeywell technologists and marketers the last couple of days. A very long conversation over the course of two days with Dan Sheflin, Honeywell’s VP Technology, can serve as an illustration.
Basically, Dan and I discussed how to move SP100 along faster. He agreed that, as Jose Gutierrez and I proposed a month ago, we ought to start doing testing on the products as soon as possible, while continuing full stroke on the rest of the standards process.
The fact is, Honeywell, and its consortium partners, agree far more with Emerson, and their consortium partners, than they disagree.
Being engineers, many times the SP100 and HART Wireless committees get bogged down in the technical minutiae of the radios and don’t focus on the larger picture.
Because of their concentration in field instrumentation and control systems, Emerson has chosen to deliberately focus on the main process loop control and asset management portions of the wireless application spectrum. Not a bad idea, and a very good model for Emerson, which is dominant in field devices worldwide.
Honeywell has taken a wider view, in part because they don’t have the field instrument bias Emerson has, although perhaps “bias” has more negative connotations than I intend…and they see a wider field of play for wireless in the industral environment, including wireless worker, and personnel locators, and even coupling gas detection with personnel location. Ken Moshier, a Honeywell System Architect, showed me the integration of personnel location, “man down” and mustering stations with their new acquisition of Zellweger gas detectors, using RFID. This, to Honeywell, is an essential part of a plant’s wireless requirements, and put that way, I cannot say they are wrong.
The task before SP100 is to find common ground between these two equally valid strategic views of wireless in the industrial plant setting.
Compared to that challenge, simply selecting a radio, or multiple yet user-transparent protocols, is fundamentally trivial. (Okay, radioheads, pile on! You know that if you look at the wider picture I’m right.)