Ten Wireless Standards, Sitting on the Wall…

The Smart Metering industry is deperate to decide on a standard for short range communication.  The UK Goverment has rushed through its consultation with a deadline for a technical standard by the end of next year, and in the US, SGIP’s PAP02 group wants to do it even faster.  Whilst we need to start deploying devices, it concerns me that there’s a rush to make decisions with very little consideration of the relative merits of the different contenders.

There’s no shortage of contenders.  At the last count I came across ten short range wireless standards that all think they should be the winner.  Those include Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, ZigBee, Wavenis, Dash7, wireless MBUS, wireless KNX, DECT, Z-Wave and Bluetooth low energy.  And they’re just the industry developed standards.

What worried me even more than the obvious rush was a off-hand comment made in a European standards meeting that I attended earlier this year.  One of the people responsible for deciding on a common standard for Europe made the comment that “we’re not going to give any time to industry standards”.  The subject of her venom was ZigBee, but it’s a charge that I’m increasingly hearing levelled at all of the “industry” standards.  It appears there’s a perception amongst members of the older established Standards Development Organisations (SDOs) that because industry standards have not been produced by their traditional specification process, they’re not as good.  That’s a very dangerous approach to take.

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