Posted: Monday 12th October 2009

Following the unveiling of the Water Industry Telemetry Standards (WITS) DNP3 Protocol at May’s IET Water Conference at Aston Villa in Birmingham, the WITS management team supported by Grontmij and 6 partner vendors are set to release the beta application notes to the rest of the industry.

The WITS project was set up in 2003 by water professionals to address the lack of inter-company cooperation and standardisation in the telemetry sector, particularly focusing on monitoring operational assets by telemetry systems. The initiative was established by individuals from a number of the Water Management Organisations (WMOs) in conjunction with consultants from Grontmij and Parsons Brinckerhoff, to provide greater flexibility in product selection and lower costs when replacing telemetry components.

Until now, having purchased a telemetry system, it has been difficult and costly to connect third party field devices to the existing system. The provision of a universal protocol will enable much greater choice in selection of external devices, much the same as your computer USB port permits any compliant device to be connected to your computer..

The WITS management committee has worked with a core group of vendors to achieve this goal and standardise the way remote telemetry outstations communicate with the main system. This has involved producing application notes to specify the required functionalities that work in conjunction with an international standard, Distributed Network Protocol (DNP3), followed by detailed testing of prototype devices to ensure the standard works and provides the necessary degree of interoperability.

From September, a beta version of the application notes will be released under licence, targeted at other manufacturers who wish to commence development of their master station products. The development team is planning to follow this with a final release in April 2010 which will enable field device product manufacturers to commence development.

Malcolm Tyler, technical manager with Grontmij and chairman of the WITS management committee, said, “It has been a long road to get where we are today. Over the past 6 years we have successfully established partnerships with six leading manufacturers, which has allowed us develop the Standard and create the universal products ready for the market . This is a significant and bold step for the water industry and we are indebted to the few that have made this possible. With a number of Water Companies already incorporating the WITS DNP3 Protocol into their procurement specifications for the next AMP 5 period it is hoped many will benefit from this new initiative.”

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