The last picture show!
The end of an era signals many changes at the International Society of Automation
ISA held what turned out to be the last ISAExpo in Houston, (TX US) early in October.
Comments, reports & discussions on ISAExpo’09
We welcome information on and will link to other reports!
Exhibition and conference replaces conference and … (Andrew Bond – IAI)
Senscient, Inc receives the ISA InTech Gold Innovators Award for ELDS Gas Detector
Feb’09 to Oct’09
ISA Expo’s posterous – there are interesting pieces on the events at the show on this posterous site. (the dead simple place to post everything!)
The size of the show was smaller and the attendance was down too but despite that and despite the encroaching sunami of the “great depression” there was a buzz and even cheerfulness in the air.
Prior to the show we had seen some indications of a desire for change which we noted in our contribution Whether ISA? at the end of September. The ISA is apparently going through its own crisis and word was filtering out about some serious cuts in that organisation. Staff cuts, changes in the regularity of its periodical InTech from a monthly to a bimonthly albeit supported by a more regular internet presence. Their weekly InTech e-news will be produced as a co-branded weekly e-newsletter, with Automation Weekly, in addition to a number of topic-specific e-newsletters. The resulting co-branded e-newsletters will be distributed to Automation.com’s subscribers, ISA members and customers, and InTech subscribers, creating a combined total distribution of more than 90,000 world-wide automation professionals.
On the show front this is to be replaced by Automation Week, “a new knowledge-based conference event, focusing on delivering critical knowledge on the application of automation technologies in processing and manufacturing environments to top professionals.”
“It’s all about knowledge,” says ISA President Jerry Cockrell, who visited the Ireland Section last Spring. “ISA is a knowledge society. We have 30,000 members and we train, we educate, we run seminars and symposia, we have standards, books, educational programs — everything we disseminate is based on knowledge. We’re excited about what ISA Automation Week can offer,” he adds.
This new event will have a small limited table-top segment for vendors to present their wares and services. Bookings appeared to be brisk as the Expo drew to a close.
But back to the show.
There were two emphases I was interested to see this year, one was industrial wireless. The ISA100.11 Standard has just been approved so not surprisingly there was a lot of hype about that. Prior to the show a press tour was arranged to the Arkema plant just north of Houston. This showed that it actually worked. Indeed, Gary Mintchel, Chief Editor of the American publication Automation World tweeted, “ISA 100 works!”. (See also detail on this installation with pictures on the Industrial Ethernet Book.)
A tour of some of the stands was organized by WINA the Wireless and Networking association lead by Steve Toteda of DUST Networks, and current President of WINA. He spoke at the Wireless Track at Pharmatex here in Ireland some years ago.
The second emphasis was on security. This was a very US biased emphasis and included speakers who were heavily involved in the US Department of Homeland Security endevours in this field. Although of somewhat limited interest to non-US nationals it did attract attention and it was fascinating to see their concerns and anxieties. However we did hear a number of comments saying that the focus was too narrow for the International Society of Automation. (See also our item Industrial Security! in show preamble!).
There were other emphases or “Exchanges” at the show, safety, process automation & control, enterprise integration, and, energy & environment. This latter segment has achieved a higher profile in the US with the change in administration and a catching up with many other regions of the world.
One thing that impressed this visitor was the location of “pods” in each of these areas, well signposted where short presentations on various exchanges. These free presentations were remarkable in that though they were out in the show hall were acoustically sound and attendees could hear them without been disturbed by the general hub-bub in the rest of the show.
Attendance at the show hovered between 8000 and 9000, including conference and training attendance.
In box at the side we have endevoured to include links of the various commentaries, reports and blogs and other sites connected with this the last ISAExpo. The earliest are at the bottom leading up to the latest at the top.
Next year? It is difficult to say. Will the new format of Automation Week attract the automation professional? Will it prove the naysayers wrong? Only time will tell!
This correspondant wishes it and the Society well. Floreat!