Although data reliability has been an inhibitor to the adoption of wireless sensor networking (WSN), that is much less the concern now, according to a report from technology research company ON World. Less than half (46%) of end users surveyed indicated that data reliability inhibits their adoption, compared with 71% in ON World's Q1 2010 survey.
The migration to standards-based WSN is one of the biggest technology developments for industrial automation, researchers said. "Users of industrial wireless sensing and control have been demanding standards, but the hope of convergence between WirelessHART and ISA100.11a is in doubt," said Mareca Hatler, ON World's research director. "Despite this standards confusion and a brutal economy, the industrial WSN market has doubled over the last two years."
In collaboration with the International Society of Automation (ISA), HART Communication Foundation (HCF) and the Wireless Industrial Networking Alliance (WINA), ON World completed one of its largest studies on WSN with 216 industrial automation vendors, end users and professionals from five geographic regions. Examples include BP, Chevron, DuPont, Endress+Hauser, Emerson, Hitachi, Halliburton, Honeywell, Petrobras, Rio Tinto Alcan, Schneider Electric, Toshiba and Yokogawa.
More than half (57%) of the end user respondents are using or pilot testing WSN systems. One-fifth of the end users have deployed more than 100 wireless field devices, and 75% of current WSN adopters are using a wireless mesh protocol for at least some of their wireless field devices.
WirelessHART is used by 39% of the surveyed end users — up from 13% in Q1 2010. Preferences for wireless mesh standards continue to diverge, with end users equally preferring either WirelessHART or a hybrid strategy that includes both WirelessHART and ISA100.11a.