The ISA's Joint Working Group simplifies the development and integration of O&M systems

The Instrumentation Systems and Automation Society (ISA) SP95 Committee, MIMOSA (An Operations and Maintenance Open Systems Alliance) and OPC Foundation (OPC) on Feb. 11 held the first meeting of its Joint Working Group (JWG). The JWG's objective is to simplify the development and integration of Operations & Maintenance (O&M) systems, equipment and software enabling practical interoperability with other enterprise systems.

The JWG will provide coordination for the standards under development by ISA SP95, MIMOSA and OPC. The three organizations announced their intent to form a JWG in a press release Oct. 22 at the ISA EXPO 2003. In addition to establishing the organizational structure and protocol for the JWG, the group developed a technical strategy that includes objectives and deliverables.

"I am amazed at the energy and enthusiasm generated during this initial meeting," says Keith Unger, ISA SP95 Committee Chair. "The group was able to outline common goals and establish a base of understanding on how these standards will collaborate. The integrated efforts of all three organizations will result in vendors building products for superior open solutions addressing the needs of all of manufacturing."

OPC Foundation President Tom Burke adds, "The team quickly came to consensus on a strategy for interoperability. We are rapidly unifying the terminology and models and we will be providing the documents and sample code to jumpstart the vendors' adoption of the standards." He says the JWG is focused on enabling vendors to build products that users will be able to deploy into open solutions for operations, maintenance and beyond.

Alan Johnston, MIMOSA's president, says he is pleased by the progress the group made at the first JWG Meeting. "Too frequently, organizations talk about collaboration, but fail to deliver useful and timely results, either by design or by default," he says. "We are already seeing significant benefits from our continuing collaboration with OPC to enable the real-time enterprise in a variety of vertical industry sectors through our OpenO&M initiative. Collaborating with the ISA SP95 Committee is the obvious way to accelerate the development and adoption of open standards applicable to the manufacturing sector."

Costantino Pipero, JWG coordinator and global solutions manager for Invensys Wonderware WSIG, agrees. "We are doing this right when the technology is mature enough to address a screaming market demand for consistency. And we want to do it fast."

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