WITS is not WITS?

When the original development of the WITS-DNP3 protocol was underway, some thought went into the selection of the WITS abbreviation so that we would not clash with other uses, which might be in the same area. In those days WITS stood for Water Industry Telemetry Standards, as the development of that early protocol was led by the UK Water Industry. Since then we have seen increased interest from non-UK countries and also from other industry sectors leading us to change what WITS stood for, to Worldwide Industrial Telemetry Standards.

Since the adoption of WITS as our name, we have become aware of another use of the abbreviation WITS which could cause confusion due to the similarity of the industry it is used in. This article explains this other use and will hopefully assist the reader in determining which is being referred to.

The other use of the abbreviation WITS, which is applied in a vaguely similar area, is for Wellsite Information Transfer Specification. This has sometimes been seen as Wellhead Information Transfer Specification, but we believe they are one in the same. This specification is related to the petroleum and drilling industries and has been superseded by WITSML (Wellsite Information Transfer Standard Markup Language), which is an XML based version that accomplishes the same thing, and has its own website.

Given that our use of WITS and the drilling use of WITS stem from information transfer in industrial settings and often relate to SCADA systems, it is no surprise that some confusion has been possible. The following show examples of where this has happened:
Kepware are a well-known company producing software for Oil and Gas, Power and Utilities; in particular they are known for producing drivers for many protocols. Amongst their products is WITS Suite, which is used for the transfer of well-site information to SCADA, HMI or OPC client applications. Although sounding similar, it is not related to WITS-DNP3, WITS-IoT or Worldwide Industrial Telemetry Standards (WITS).
ControlStar Systems Ltd produce the Control Star which is similar to a Remote Telemetry Unit (RTU) within the water industry. They also produce a WITS Server which is used against the Wellhead Information Transfer Specification and is not related to WITS-DNP3, WITS-IoT or Worldwide Industrial Telemetry Standards (WITS).

In most cases it should be relatively easy to tell our use and the other use of WITS apart. We normally use the names WITS-DNP3 or WITS-IoT to refer to our protocols, although the term WITS can be used to refer to the protocols or the organisation who manages them.

If having read about a WITS application, device or piece of software you are not sure which it refers to then please remember that all WITS Field Devices and Master Stations are Self Certified or Verified and listed on our Device Catalogue page. If it is not listed within our device catalogue, then it is highly likely not to relate to our WITS (Worldwide Industrial Telemetry Standards).

If you are still unsure then we would like to hear about it and help clarify which WITS is being referred to; so please contact our secretary using their details on the contacts page giving us details of the ambiguous use.

Mark Davison, March 2019