Who are the Promoter members of WiTECK?
Why is WiTECK necessary?
There are several reasons. First, low level software that is a prerequisite for standard compliance is getting more complex and expensive to develop. Large automation companies don't want to develop this type of software because it is outside their core expertise. Small companies don't want to do the development work because the willingness of equipment manufacturers to pay license fees has not kept pace with the increased effort required to develop the software.
Second, by operating from the same core source code base, WiTECK licensees will improve the chances of multi-vendor interoperability within the framework of the standard.
Finally, we feel that we are helping to create an open, healthy and competitive marketplace for industrial wireless software in the process and factory automation sectors for years to come.
Another advantage of WITECK is that the Konsortium intends to get HART compliance registration based on a reference hardware implementation that we are using for stack design. By basing new OEM design on an already registered design, device implementers will gain a significant time-to-market advantage together with reduced risk.
What is the first project that WiTECK is undertaking and why was it chosen?
Our first development project is a stack based on the WirelessHART portion of the HART 7 specification. We chose this project for a number of reasons. First, WirelessHART is an international standard, IEC 62591, for operating industrial wireless sensor networks in the process industry.
Second, all of Promoter Members are HART Communication Foundation members and supporters. We are developing products or technologies around the international standard. Currently there is only one source of software for the standard. WiTECK Promoter Members believe that a second source is required for the long term success of WirelessHART. Given the level of investment required to build a market around WirelessHART, the Founders felt it economically prudent to develop a second source in a not-for-profit corporation.
What are some future projects that WiTECK could entertain?
Within the context of developing core software for approved standards, there are many extensions to our initial WirelessHART effort that could be undertaken, as well as development efforts for other new standards. All new projects will be selected by the membership and approved by the board of directors.
Why was the name WiTECK chosen and what does it stand for?
A core belief among the founding members of WiTECK was that this organization's mission was bigger than just a single stack implementation. This core belief is reflected in the name that was: "Wireless Industrial Technology Konsortium." The name was intentionally left broad to cover whatever needs might develop in the industrial automation space.
Why did you spell the word Konsortium with a K?
The German spelling for consortium uses the K. We use the K to reflect the organization's international membership.
When will the HART software stack be available?
The list stack is available. Please contact Softing AG as the WiTECK authorized licensed Agent
Will there be regular updates on the progress of the work?
Members of WiTECK participate in regularly scheduled technical and business-focused conference calls and meetings where progress updates will be reported.
Does WiTECK prevent additional sources?
No. WiTECK starts as a second source beside an existing approach for WirelessHART. Sensor vendors can invent their own wireless stack implementation, and other software vendors can offer a stack.
How is the project funded and who will actually do the development work?
The short answer is that contractors will be funded through membership dues. Each of the Promoter members contributed assets for initial capitalization to fund the implementation of the WirelessHART stack. However, we are an open organization and are actively seeking new promoter members.
With respect to new members, what type of membership is offered? How much does it cost and what are the benefits?
We feel that WiTECK starts where the industry standards organizations end. Standards always specify technology in an abstract way to allow the ability to create different compliant implementations on different platforms. Once a standard is published there is a lot of work to actually develop basic core software that conforms to it. So, with respect to new members, we feel that any company that is actively engaged in the development of wireless technology for industrial sensor networking, or waiting on the sidelines for the standards to be completed, should take a hard look at WiTECK membership.
However, the cost is not insignificant. Membership fees include an initial fee to join and an annual fee to remain a member. The joining fee for a Promoter member is set at $200,000, with annual dues set at $40,000. This charge is comparable to what was contributed by the Founding members.
In exchange for the joining fee and annual membership fee, Promoter members receive a source code license to all software projects developed within WiTECK and an object code license to that software as well. In other words, with WiTECK membership you are guaranteed access to relevant standard-based software for all your industrial wireless sensor networking needs. Although the cost seems significant, when it is compared to the cost of in-house development or the time and effort needed to outsource or license a stack, it is really a bargain.
We also recognize that some companies may simply not be able to afford these fees. To address this need, we have a class of Adopter members who can participate in WiTECK meetings and license WiTECK software (for separate fees), but will not play an active role in governance or direction of the organization.
Why should I pay the membership fee to become a WiTECK member when all I need to buy to enable my HART devices for wireless operation are commercially available?
The major reason is design flexibility. With the WiTECK stack, and particularly as a Promoter member with source code rights, an instrument maker is not tied to a particular radio, microprocessor or software platform. This flexibility will allow for increased freedom in WirelessHART design, resulting in a broader and differentiated range of product offerings for end users to select.
What if I want to develop a WirelessHART based product, but for some reason I cannot join WiTECK? Is your software commercially available?
WiTECK does not distribute its products directly to non-members. Instead, our products are distributed through licensed Agents. Currently, we have one licensed Agent, Softing AG.