The vast majority of facilities are not making effective use of infrastructure already in place that could be used to make better use of their installed assets, particularly with respect to their field devices. This is unfortunate because, it's possible to do so with minimal capital expenditure.
As we know, most installations don't effectively use the intelligence in field devices. Most only use HART communications for device maintenance via a handheld communicator. If you're lucky, it gets connected to a laptop or other computer in the maintenance shop to upload/download changes made as a result of a work order—done simply to record work as it's being completed, rather than manually entering it into the scheduling tool. The result is a lost gold mine of data that could easily be captured and used.
Despite the belief that the most important change from HART 7 was adding wireless, I believe the ability to report by exception—making it possible to "wake up" the transmission capability of the transmitter upon change of reading—is the feature that can have the biggest impact on how we use our intelligent field devices. The intent of the "report by exception" feature is to link it to a change in the primary process value. However, if you use this same capability, and link it instead to a configured "common trouble" diagnostics notification sent with associated alert code, this same quality can be used with wired systems to push diagnostic data rather than requiring that it be polled from the host system.