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In Brief

01 November, 2004

In Brief

Millennial Net, the US specialist in self-organising wireless sensor networks, has announced a version of its technology designed to operate on the licence-free 868MHz radio band in Europe. By operating at a lower frequency than the 916MHz used in North America, the low-power system will have an extended range and will be less susceptible to RF interference from other wireless protocols.

• The Modbus protocol, whose ownership was transferred from Schneider Electric to an independent organisation, Modbus-IDA, earlier this year, has been accepted by the IEC as a PAS (publicly available specification). The TCP version of the protocol and a companion known as RTPS have been accepted as a real-time industrial Ethernet suite by IEC SC65C. In response to several requests, Modbus-IDA will reformat the specification to integrate it better with IEC 61158.

3M Touch Systems has demonstrated a new touchscreen technology that recognises the point of contact through vibrations, rather than by interrupting electrical fields, acoustic waves or infrared light. The DST (dispersive signal technology) screens are said to be accurate and durable, with a high light transmission capability.

Windmill Software is offering s free service which will display instrumentation news on a Web page, or deliver it by email, or show it as a "ticker" on a PC desktop. The news is "guaranteed" to be relevant to anyone interested in data acquisition, control, measurement and instrumentation. For more details see

• The European Telecommunications Standards Institute (Etsi) has approved a new standard for the use of RFID (radio frequency identification) technologies on the UHF band. The two-part standard (IEN 302 208) gives guidance on the minimum characteristics to make the best use of the available frequencies.

• A group of 500 industry, government and academic technical experts in the US has issued a draft set of requirements to protect industrial control systems from cyber attacks. The requirements, developed by the Process Control Security Requirements Forum, cover the design, implementation, configuration, maintenance and decommissioning of control technologies such as Scada systems, DCSs and PLCs.

Rexroth is offering a service to back-up drive and control software, with the option of storing copies of the software in a fireproof safe at its headquarters. A Rexroth service engineer will visit a customer`s site, mirror the control and drive software, and give the customer a back-up on CD-ROM. Prices for the service start at £100.

• A White Paper recently published by the ARC Advisory Group, discusses the use of Profibus in process-oriented applications. Entitled The value proposition of Profibus in the hybrid industries, the document is available as a free download from

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