The International Society of Automation (ISA) has announced the recipients of its 2015 author awards presented annually by ISA’s Publications Department.
“Each year, ISA is proud to recognize and thank all of the talented authors and contributors who help develop, review and deliver outstanding ISA publications and technical resources to automation and control professionals throughout the world,” said Susan Colwell, director of ISA’s Publications Department and Publisher of ISA’s InTech magazine.
Winners are recognized for their editorial contributions to a wide range of ISA publications, including ISA books; InTech, ISA’s bi-monthly magazine for automation and control professionals; and ISA Transactions, ISA’s bi-monthly professional journal dedicated to the science and engineering of measurement and automation.
Winners will be honored at an awards luncheon at ISA’s Fall Leaders Meeting, 10-13 October in Louisville, Kentucky, USA. The luncheon will take place on Monday, 12 October.
Awards and award recipients
The Keith Otto Award
Poulsen is the senior specialist of automation and IT at NNE Pharmaplan. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate degree in process engineering and is certified as a professional enterprise architect according to the TOGAF 9 standards. At NNE Pharmaplan, Poulsen is responsible for the development of technology, methods, and competencies within automation and IT and works as a senior business consultant for customers worldwide.
He is an expert on business analysis and conceptual design of automation and IT solutions, including how to deploy such solutions effectively in a GxP regulated organization. He is an active member of ISA88 and ISA95 standards committees.
The Nels Tyring Award
Kern, P.E., possesses more than 35 years of process control experience. He has authored numerous papers on topics ranging from field instrumentation, safety systems and loop tuning to multivariable control, inferential control and expert systems.
From 2001 to 2008, Kern served as automation leader at a major Middle Eastern refinery, where his responsibilities included deployment and performance of multivariable control systems. Since 2005, Kern has published more than a dozen papers on multivariable control performance. In 2012, he became an independent process control consultant serving clients worldwide.
The Raymond D. Molloy Award
• Blevins, principal technologist in the applied research team at Emerson Process Management, has been actively involved in the application and design of process control systems throughout his career. He was instrumental in the establishment of Emerson Process Management’s Advanced Control Program. From 1998-2005, Blevins served as the team lead for the development of DeltaV advanced control products. From 1994-2013, he was the Fieldbus Foundation team lead for the development and maintenance of the Function Block Specification and editor of the SIS Architecture and Model Specifications.
He is the US expert to the IEC SC65E WG7 function block committee that is responsible for the IEC 61804 function block standards. He is a voting member and chairman of ISA SP104-EDDL (Electronic Device Description Language) committee and is the technical advisor to the United States Technical Advisory Group (USTAG) for the IEC65E subcommittee. He is also a member of the USNC TAG (IEC/SC65 and IEC/TC65).
He co-authored the following best-selling ISA books: Advanced Control Unleashed (2002), Control Loop Foundation (2010), and Advanced Control Foundation (2012). He has more than 50 patents and has written more than 80 papers on process control system design and applications. He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Louisville in 1971 and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1973. In 2004, he was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame. Blevins is an ISA Fellow.
• Dr. Chen recently joined Tongji University as a professor at the Computer Science Department. His research will be focused on the industrial Internet, which is the continuation of his work at Emerson Process Management, where he was a member of the DeltaV future architecture team. Chen has been involved in process automation for almost two decades. He was among the first people who created OPC, and has worked on different fieldbuses, including WirelessHART.
He co-authored the first definitive book, WirelessHART: Real-Time Mesh Network for Industrial Automation (2010), and translated the ISA best-selling book, Control Loop Foundation – Batch and Continuous Processes, into Chinese (2012). In 1999 he received a doctorate degree from the University of Texas at Austin; his thesis was titled, “Real-Time Data Management in the Distributed Environment.” Chen is an IEEE senior member and an ISA senior member.
• Nixon,director of applied research at Emerson Process Management, has been involved in the process industries throughout his career. He started his career as a systems engineer working on projects in oil & gas, chemicals, and pulp & paper. He moved from Canada to Austin, Texas in 1988 where he has held various positions in both research and development.
From 1995 through 2005 Nixon was lead architect for DeltaV. In 2006 he joined the wireless team, taking a very active role in the development of WirelessHART and IEC 62591. His current research includes control, data analytics, wireless, low power, virtualization, and operator interfaces.
He has co-authored the following books: WirelessHART Real-Time Mesh Network for Industrial Automation (2010), Control Loop Foundation for Batch and Continuous Processes (2010), and Advanced Control Foundation (2012). He holds more than 85 patents. In 2012 he was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame. Nixon is an ISA Fellow. He received a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1982.
• Dr. Wojsznis, senior technologist at Emerson, has been involved in the development of advanced control products over the last nearly 25 years, focusing on model predictive control, auto tuning and data analytics. Over the previous 25 years of his career, he worked on developing computer control systems and applications. His professional work resulted in a number of successful and innovative advanced control products, more than 40 patents, and more than 50 technical papers.
He received a control engineering degree (EE) from Kiev Technical University in 1964, a master of science degree in applied mathematics from Wroclaw University in 1972, and a doctorate degree from Warsaw University of Technology in 1973. He co-authored two best-selling ISA books: Advanced Control Unleashed (2002) and Advanced Control Foundation (2012).
In 2010, Wojsznis was inducted into Control Magazine’s Process Automation Hall of Fame. He is an ISA Fellow.
ISA Transactions Best Paper Award
ISA Transactions Best Paper Award recognizes the best technical paper published in ISA Transactions, the ISA professional journal dedicated to the science and engineering of measurement and automation, over the previous year.
This year’s award recipients are Junyong Zhai, Ph.D., and Wenting Zha. Their winning paper, “Global adaptive output feedback control for a class of nonlinear time-day systems”, ISA Transactions, Vol. 53, Issue 1,” was judged to be the best paper published in the journal in 2014. (ISA members have free online access to ISA Transactions. Non-ISA members can learn more about the journal by clicking here.)
• Dr. Zhai received his doctorate degree in automatic control from Southeast University in Nanjing, China in 2006. From September 2009 to September 2010, he was a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Currently, he is a professor at the School of Automation, Southeast University. Dr. Zhai has published more than 100 technical papers. His current research interests include nonlinear systems control, stochastic time-delay systems and switching control.
Zha is a doctoral student at the School of Automation, Southeast University. From September 2014 to September 2015, she was a visiting doctoral student at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her current research interests include stochastic nonlinear control, finite-time control and adaptive control.
We don’t usually plug automation publications per sé although we have from time to time publicised articles which we feel might be of interest to our visitors. One of the most respected publications in the Automation world is InTech, the periodical of the International Society of Automation. They have just launched a tablet version of the magazine – initially for the iPad but shortly for other platforms.
InTech Plus is a new mobile app from the ISA, for the Apple iPad that enables automation professionals to rapidly access, scan and digest a diverse range of technical and educational content—and utilize valuable tools and calculators—through a highly interactive and inviting format. InTech Plus may be downloaded at no cost through the Apple App Store.
“The InTech Plus mobile app has great new content delivered in a new and engaging way,” said Peggie W. Koon, Ph.D., ISA President. “Downloadable free of charge, InTech Plus connects automation and control professionals to all things automation. It’s interactive, intuitive, fresh and fun. From the latest technology news and ‘how-to’ videos featuring ISA subject matter experts to Q&As, quizzes and calculators, our new mobile app delivers added value to automation professionals on the go.”
Because InTech Plus provides on-the-go access—whenever and wherever—to an extensive array of automation content and functionality, Dr. Koon says it supports the ISA mission of better connecting automation and control professionals with the information they need and want.
“In addition,” she says, “InTech Plus represents our commitment to innovation, and to pursuing the ongoing development of new tools, products and programs with the “coolest delivery” available to our members and the automation community at large.”
A fresh and engaging format designed for ease of use
As users move through InTech Plus, they will immediately notice they’re engaging in a totally new way to view and digest information. Highly colorful and visual in approach, the pages feature intuitive navigation that will guide you to captivating success stories, to best-practice overviews, and to “quick-read” call-out boxes and sliders—all of which encourage you to learn more and dig deeper.
“ISA is extremely excited to introduce InTech Plus to the automation community,” says Susan Colwell, Manager of ISA Publications Development. “There is so much to discover and explore. Useful information and tools are on display right at your fingertips. Tap on a button to read about a hot topic or view helpful conversion tables, or get a refresher on a specific area of automation fundamentals, such as how to select field instruments. Polish up on wireless devices, HMI, pressure transmitters, level, temperature, batch and so on. Take a quick quiz on CCST® or CAP® certification. A slide of a finger will lead you to the next feature, video, fun fact or news item. Download a calculation or scientific app on the go, when you need it most. You can even learn about the history of automation.”
InTech Plus content, which will be updated on a regular basis, is derived through a variety of authoritative sources, most significantly through the insights and perspectives of ISA’s world-renowned subject matter experts. In addition, the entire spectrum of ISA’s products and services—including its automation standards; education, training and certification programs; technical symposia; publishing resources and leadership development capabilities—is represented.
While InTech Plus is currently only formatted for the iPad, Colwell says additional formats are under development.
New team for the INSIDER, to analyse the news in 2014
Operating in the Measurement, Control and Automation business sector, the Industrial Automation & Process Control INSIDER, founded and edited by Andrew Bond and more recently by Nick Denbow (from 2010), and the Sound Off! blog from Walt Boyes, have provided analysis and comment for many years – effectively as competitors. The difference between the two has always been one of style, perhaps based on geography, because the INSIDER could be described as having a solidly British, if not European, physical and cultural base. (Indeed on occasion Read-out has been known to contribute a bit of an Irish flavour from time to time!) Sound Off! has, without doubt, the a distinctly North American, if not USA, approach and style.
The strengths of both these organs is that they are demonstrably vendor independent, unreliant on advertising, possibly unique in trade publications in the world of automation.
Modern communications and the Internet have changed everything today, in that most developments and press releases are available world-wide, once they are written. Even User Group conferences held around the World in specific locations, are reported with video interviews, live streams and tweets available to everyone, and we in Read-out have found tweets particularly useful in this regard using these to give a differently nuanced report on proceedings from venues that we have never visited in the flesh! These factors have increased the overlap between the publications.
An opportunity for change
We learned last November that Walt Boyes had left Control magazine and Putman Media, but he has continuing to write his Sound Off! blog on his own account. Walt, as those of us who know him would know, was keen to expand his activities we now learn that he is joining the Editorial team of the INSIDER. Over the past year, Nick Denbow has been seeking a future development route for the newsletter, that would take away some of the workload involved in typesetting and administration, and also create further expansion opportunities. He tells us that some of this requirement has arisen from developing eye problems caused by glaucoma and the consequent increase in typos that can remain undetected. Probably this is more likely a result of 14 years in front of a PC screen! So we come to a link-up with Spitzer & Boyes. “The result is that Walt and I have agreed that he and David Spitzer will become the co-publishers of the INSIDER, with Walt sending out the newsletter as from the February issue – next month!”
Walt is to be be the Managing Editor, and the main editorial contact (based in Saint Louis, Missouri USA), and he is also to deal with the subscription administration. This agreement also enables Nick Denbow to continue writing editorial reports for the INSIDER, as the European Editor (based in Winchester, GB) – maintaining the European contacts and approach established over the years by the INSIDER. Walt has, in fact, started his involvement with the INSIDER already, and has provided some of the review articles featured later in the January issue.
Nick continues, “The monthly issue of the INSIDER subscription newsletter will continue as it has done for the last 17 years, and we will do our best to expand and improve the publication for the future. Walt and I believe that the format around the newsletter, with the associated websites and other services, needs to develop and change, to bring in new ideas and publishing techniques. But the INSIDER newsletter is set to continue, with both Walt Boyes and Nick Denbow as editors, writers, commentators and columnists throughout 2014.”
Hopefully the combination will bring both the European, American and indeed global view to the INSIDER news analysis!
|This story on Sound Off
Spitzer and Boyes LLC Acquires Industrial Automation INSIDER
Now! Anybody interested in Read-out?
The automation world was a bit stunned to read the following tweet from major automation pundit and personality Walt Boyes: “I will be leaving Putman and Control magazine to return to Spitzers & Boyes. My last day will be December 13.” He made the same announcement on his face book page! Later he amended it “Oops, now it seems I will be leaving Putman November 30, not December 13.”
Of course we don’t know the full story nor I suppose should we pry too much. Indeed one of the responses to the news on social media says “Realising there is untold backstory here, I hope this turns out as a super good thing for you!” Suffice it to say that nearly all print publications, especially, those in dedicated or dare I say, niche, markets are struggling to find a position in a world dominated by electronic communication. How they react is perhaps a measure of their understanding of their audience.
Control Magazine, like all automation periodicals has shrunk somewhat in size although, under Walt’s editorship through its internet presence, ControlGlobal it has managed to reach audiences far beyond the shores of North America. Another comment hearing the news, “It will be Control Global’s loss and Spitzer & Boyes gain! If I remember….they didn’t have an on-line magazine until you took over as editor. You and your connections brought them world-wide exposure.” Probably true but in fact an on-line presence would have happened whether Walt was there or not. It is valid however, to surmise that it would not be as effective as it is without his lively input!
Walt, needs little introduction in the area of automation. This writer has known him since the eighties at least and indeed maybe further back through his involvement as a leader in the International Society of Automation. His authoritative presence in the ISA Publications Department, including as Publications VP, was an inspiration to many. When he was appointed as Editor in Chief of Control Magazine his ethical side came to the fore and he disengaged immediately from involvement in any ISA activities which could have been seen as compromising to the society’s interest. This was not universally recognised and led to some estrangement from some members especially in the early days. However thankfully the Society has recognised his expertise and dedication when he was created a Fellow some years ago. He continues to support ISA in those areas where there is no clash of interests and indeed at the ISA Automation Week earlier this month was presented with another award by the Management Division recognising his “special contributions,” to that division.
He is a man who calls a spade a spade. Sometimes people might think him to be too forthcoming in his opinions but what no one can deny is his sense of devotion to what he sees and understands as the truth. One might say that in automation terms his motto might be “Fiat justitia ruat caelum!” His robust interventions in the wireless standard debates are a case in point. His well named “Sound-Off Blog” is a never to be missed yet at times very personal commentary on the automation sector. It is to be hoped that Putman sees fit to leave these postings on the control website rather than remove all trace of his prodigious input.
His venture with David Spitzer in Spitzer & Boyes, is another useful resource and David’s monthly e-zine is a welcome delivery in many automation mailboxes advice and explanations of the various technologies. This is a consultancy providing flow and level measurement engineering, market research, and related consulting services to instrumentation users, manufacturers, and representatives on a worldwide basis. We look forward to Walt’s & David’s strengthening of this input into our discipline. “You have an amazing ability to improve things wherever you may be. Best of luck with this, and all your endeavours.” says another on hearing the news!
We mentioned previously that we have known Walt for many years. A very human being who has had his share of sadness especially when his wife of many years died suddenly a few years ago. He has recently found happiness with a lady called Joy (in name and in nature!) and indeed we in Read-out cherish their visit to us in Ireland during his honeymoon in the Summer. All his many friends were delighted that in Joy he has again found a soul-mate.
Hopefully in this development automation professionals throughout the world will be able to continue to benefit from Walt’s unique expertise and opinions for many years into the future.
Reading this it looks like an obituary but of course it isn’t thank God. It is however an opportunity for this writer at least to express appreciation and perhaps gratitude for a contribution to the world of automation that is the life to date of Walt Boyes!
Good luck Walt, and every good wish for success in this new phase of your life.
ISA’s Automation Week: Technology and Solutions Event 2013 wrapped up on Thursday (7/11/2013), in the well known Music City, Nashville in the USA. Three days of comprehensive technical sessions, keynote addresses, networking events, standards meetings, and training courses were availed of by hundreds of automation professionals.
|Nashville, TN, USA. 5-7 November 2013.Follow events on twitter #ISAutowk
# Industrial Security Expert Eric Byres Receives ISA Award (David Greenfield, Automation World, 4/11/2013)
# Peter Martin speaks at #ISAutoWk as replacement keynote (Walt Boyes, ControlGlobal, 5/11/2013)
# Preventing a Cyber Pearl Harbor (David Greenfield, Automation World, 5/11/2013)
# Building an ROI for Industrial Cyber Security (Eric Knap, Security Week, 6/11/2013)
# Maverick Technologies’ Paul Galeski explains his strategy for drawing higher attendance. (Interview with Control Engineering’s Peter Welendre, 7/11/2013)
# ISA104Meeting (Terry Blevins, Modelling & Control, 25/11/2013)
The Automation Value Proposition (Walt Boyes, Sound Off, 10/12/2013)
The ISA Automation Week program also included 24 technical sessions, organized into six educational tracks. These tracks, which included Industrial Network Security; Creating Business Value through Automation; The Connected Enterprise; Wireless Applications; Industrial Automation and Control; and Asset Lifecycle Management and Optimization/Strategy, were organised with a focus on the critical components of successful automation – safety, people, business and technology.
This was the first time we have actually been unable to travel to the event and so we had to rely on the tweets of those who were happy to share information. The number of tweeters was surprisingly small though some were very good a keeping us informed especially Control Global’s Walt Boyes and Joel Don who was tweeting under the ISA Interchange identity. There were one or two sharings commenting on the paradox of an excellent high class programme and the fact that the number of delegates was small. “The program is terrific. The audience is small,” said one, and another “I don’t know what we have to do to build it up again.” It has always been a bit of a mystery to me how the incredibly valuable and unaligned resource treasure of ISA does not appear to attract American professionals in the way it seems to internationally.
The event was preceded by some governance meetings of the ISA itself which had delegates from throught the world discussing and voting on important changes in how the Societ is governed. The delegates were also treated to a pre-view of a new ISA website which is the result of mammoth work behind the scenes. This will make the virtual leviathan of information already on the ISA site more easily accessible to members and other visitor. The beta-version should be on line in matter of weeks. Watch out for it!
Another stalwart of Automation Week is the eve event of the ISA Honours & Awards Banquet where Automation Professionals are honoured by their peers. These included Eric Byres, of Tofino, one of the pioneers in expertise and leadership in the quest for cybersecurity solutions to protect industrial control systems.
Yes! Automation can!
Dr Peter Martin, vice president of business value solutions for the Software and Industrial Automation division of Invensys, delivered the opening keynote address on the Tuesday morning, entitled “The Future of Automation.” He focused on the importance of automation professionals in solving the world’s most significant problems. “When people say you’re biting off too much of a project, they might use the expression that you’re trying to solve world hunger. I want you to understand that in the automation industry, we can solve world hunger. We can do it, and we’re the only people who can do it.”
Dr. Martin stressed that the barriers to solving the world’s most significant problems include access to energy, water, food, material goods and chemicals. Automation professionals, he said, can figure out how to solve those access problems, and “that challenge must be a rallying cry for the next generation to pursue careers in our industries and make a real difference in our futures.”
One phrase impressed our tweeters “Collaborate, it’s a nice thing to do, just doesn’t work. You need to incent for it.”
Preventing a cyber Pearl Harbour
Wednesday morning’s keynote address was delivered by an American General, Robert E. Wheeler, Deputy Chief Information Officer of the United States Department of Defense. He is responsible for Command, Control, Communications and Computers (C4) and Information Infrastructure Capabilities (DCIO for C4IIC) and serves on the executive staff of the US Secretary of Defense. This address focused on the importance of industrial infrastructure cybersecurity and the threats posed daily to our nation’s critical infrastructure networks.
“In the Department of Defense, our job is to assure mission execution in the face of cyber warfare by the most capable adversaries in the world,” said Wheeler. “We have to get the bad guys, protect the good guys, take out insurgents, and not hurt anyone else. That’s very hard.”
Wheeler went on to discuss the protection of America’s SCADA systems, power grid, and other key infrastructure assets. “Information assurance must be baked in from the very beginning of your work as engineers and automation professionals – you can’t just bolt it on,” he said and this was reported by our tweeters. The Automation Federation and ISA cybersecurity experts have been invited by the White House and NIST to participate in developing the framework for the President Barack Obama’s executive order PPD-21 calling for the cybersecurity of industrial automation and control systems and critical infrastructure.
Other tweets: “We have not gone down the BYOD (Buy your own device) road. We don’t think it’s going to save us that much money in the long run.” and “We are always going to have some cyber weakness because it is open- this is not the same view in other countries.” Perhaps more rivetting were these: “The closed systems of yesteryear are open today” and more bluntly “SCADA has lost its protection by connecting to the Internet.”
When asked about the importance of training and recruiting future cybersecurity professionals, Wheeler stressed the importance of STEM education initiatives combined with mentoring programs that can ignite the curiosity and intellect of future engineers, inspiring them to become the next cyber warriors in the fight to keep American companies and infrastructure safe and secure.
Thursday’s keynote address, the final keynote of the conference, featured a distinguished panel of experts discussing workforce development issues within our industries. Moderated by Maurice Wilkins, Ph.D., vice president of the Global Strategic Marketing Center, Yokogawa Corporation of America, the panel included Paul Galeski, CEO & founder of MAVERICK Technologies; Dr. Martin of Invensys; and Steve Huffman, vice president of marketing and business development for Mead O’Brien, Inc. “Workforce development is one of the largest issues facing industry and one that will have a quick and lasting impact on process automation personnel,” commented Dr. Wilkins. “We need to bring together supplier, systems integrator, and educational communities to reverse the trends and inevitabilities that will affect us all – they each bring a unique and valuable perspective.”
“Our rich technical sessions and thought-provoking keynotes provided attendees with new take-home tools, tips and techniques to help them deliver even better performance in their jobs,” said ISA Automation Week Program Chair Paul Galeski. “We are very proud of the technical content we’ve put together for this unique, world-class event.” Or as we have ready quoted above: “The program is terrific”
Attendees agreed with Galeski’s sentiments about the depth and breadth of the technical content in the program. “I have been attending ISA Automation Week for three consecutive years. The conference offers great technical sessions, always something new, and always something to learn,” said Hector Torres, senior process and control engineer, at Eastman Chemical.
In addition to technical sessions and keynote addresses, the event also featured a networking hub with ISA partner companies, technology briefings and social events.
As the event drew to an end this somewhat plaintive tweet, “Need titles for the flight home? Check out the #ISAutoWk bookstore, across from the Networking Hub.” This is of course the indefatigable Publications Department which issues a regular supply of books, the Society Magazine, the incomparable ISA Transactions, the Journal of Automations and innumerable papers since the formation of the Society almost 70 years ago. The proceedings for this years are now available free to members for download!
“ISA Automation Week was a great opportunity to meet new prospects, spend time with our customers and network with experts,” noted Ned Espy, Technical Director at Beamex, which was announced as ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Calibration earlier in the week. “The presentation content was the best in years with relevant topics. I also learned we are part of an organization that is striving to end world hunger!”
Additional ISA partners participating at ISA Automation Week included ISA’s Premier Strategic Partner for Systems Integration, MAVERICK Technologies; ISA’s Corporate Partners, Honeywell and OSIsoft; and ISA’s Automation Week Partners, aeSolutions, ARC Advisory Group, Eaton, ExperTune, and Falcon Electric.
Automation Week 2012 – Orlando, Florida USA
Automation Week 2011 – Mobile, Alabama (USA)
Which automation thought leaders are in your INBOX?
Today was a brilliant day, a sunny day, but one at the month-end when I should be writing. So in an unusual day off, a few things became clearer. That ‘Automation Thought Leader’ – why should we only look at suppliers? There are plenty of others who make a call for attention in the automation community. But the ones with a major part to play are the editors and commentators, both on paper and on-line.
The thing about such editors is, mostly, they just don’t want to shut up. In comparison to the company ceo or technical guru, who retires, or steps down, one way or another, at – well maybe 60, possibly as late as 65, but often at aged 55 – these editors just keep on going. Maybe because the writing and opinionating is in their blood, but maybe because they need to keep earning some publication fees: one way or another they keep going.
But while we have seen a major change in the respected ceo list recently, fully reported, maybe another change in the editors and commentators, the major industry pundits, has also been happening, and we have changed some of our normal sources? So look at what you now read, and think whether the major media sources you follow, and people who you listen to, have changed in the last few years?
Plus, break your normal reader silence and tell me who you listen to, maybe we can learn something from one another!
INSIDER leads the pack
Looking close to home, it was around three years ago that Andrew Bond retired as the Editor of the INSIDER, after 14 years, in September 2010. In May 2012, Jim Pinto stopped his weblogs and automation newsletter (INSIDER, May 2012 page 5). As a part of the media hiatus following the crash in 2008 and the turmoil following the rise of the internet, the very successful UK-based Talk websites, where I was an editor from 2002 to 2010, all crashed out, after being acquired by a panicking publisher. Maybe the media publishers are still trying to find their new position in the world, after riding through that downturn of 2008, but not having the right approach for the internet based age that followed.
So in the UK we have the Process Engineering paper magazine that was about to be chopped, bought out of the publishers by a management group, who retained the services of the editor, Patrick Raleigh (right). Always a champion of reports written from the customer point of view, Raleigh has now decided to leave them and start a freelance venture of a newsletter in this format. (Though he remains in an advisory capacity – More on this story!)
Maybe the automation and control printing industry in the USA has embraced online content and websites better than in Europe and the UK. Or maybe they have more reserves, deeper pockets, and less freelance competition. To an ‘outsider’, it does seem that the main freelance web-based competition from the USA is more specific, topic led, like the blogs from Eric Byres at Tofino Security, or Black Hat and others.
However, there are two people that stand out, in editorial circles in the USA, and these are Walt Boyes from Control Global, and Gary Mintchell from Automation World. It was in the March 2013 issue of the INSIDER where we reported that Mintchell was stepping down from his role as editor-in chief at the magazine, the one he founded 10 years ago. While his photo still appears on their website, Gary has started a personal blog, Manufacturing Connection, as a freelance vehicle.
What was more of a concern earlier this year was that Walt Boyes’ regular contributions to his ‘SoundOff’ blog on seemed to tail off! Lucky guy, he seems to have been able to take some time out. Now, despite some really off-putting major bugs in the ControlGlobal website over the last month, he seems to have come back in full voice, which is reassuring for us all. (Note: He had other things on his mind – including his wedding!) One of his interesting blog comments was that he was disappointed to not have Darius Adamczyk of Honeywell answer any of the Control magazine pre-submitted questions in the press briefing held at the end of May. Needless to say Adamczyk did not answer the question posed by the INSIDER either, but a written answer did follow, as reported last month, from Jason Urso. Where did the questions come from, that Adamczyk did choose to answer, one wonders?
The aging issue
These two guys in the USA, and at the moment, the INSIDER from the UK, and Read-out from Eoin Ó Riain, firmly grounded in a beautiful part of the west of Ireland, are the main editorial based sources from, with respect, relatively aging editors who don’t have to toe the company line any more, so are more than likely to say what they actually believe.
What seems to happen in UK magazines is that the ‘Publishers’ use relatively young (low cost?) editors, typically from another industry, to edit their automation/control magazines. Plus their actual column inch space for editorial is very restricted, the suppliers write most of the articles and pay for the pages. Plus after cutting their teeth in automation/control for a year or so, they are moved on to a different industry.
Where we can find exceptions in the UK and English language magazines are in the UK with Suzanne Gill, editor on Control Engineering Europe, and from Germany with Frank Jablonski on Process Worldwide. But whose articles do you read and appreciate? Let me know, I can’t read them all. In the USA, I have been impressed with some of the past reports from Renee Robbins Bassett, on Automation World, but I have not found many of her on-line articles traceable here recently.
So let’s look at some of the more interesting comments in the last month: Walt Boyes on the ISA topic – again To be honest Boyes was preaching to the converted when I read his comments on the appointment of the new ISA ‘presidentelect/ secretary’. On 23 June his report, said that he had stopped writing about the ISA some years ago, but this new event needed a comment. Back in the March 2013 issue of the INSIDER I also took up a similar issue with the ISA when suggesting in a review of their approach to wireless standardization that their commercial interests in the WCI organization had been the main factor behind their rejection of any WirelessHART compromise.
But the new guy, selected to be the future president of the ISA, is reported by Boyes to be an investment banker, someone in whose hands hopefully the investments of the large reserves of cash propping up the ISA will be made safely: he has already attained the leadership of the ISA investment committee. So maybe the ISA is to become a financial vehicle pure and simple, and ignore the membership: Walt knows about these things, as unlike me, he is still a member. Maybe the new president will also consider another name change – I suggest to the Investment Society of America – but probably that will not be on behalf of the membership.
“…the latest cybersecurity strategies, recommendations and tools that can immediately be applied to protect your industrial control systems and process control networks..”
To help manufacturers and plant and facility operators improve their cybersecurity defenses and better confront the growing dangers of cyberwarfare, the International Society of Automation (ISA) has produced the ISA Cybersecurity Tech Pack.
“The ISA Cybersecurity Tech Pack is an assembly of the latest technical papers, PowerPoint presentations, technical books and InTech articles developed by some of the world’s leading experts in cybersecurity and industrial automation and control systems security,” says Susan Colwell, manager of publications development at ISA. “These materials—which can be downloaded from the ISA website—include the latest cybersecurity strategies, recommendations and tools that can immediately be applied to protect your industrial control systems and process control networks.”
As a widely recognized, world leader in cybersecurity standards development, training and educational resources, ISA provides the proven technical expertise and know-how to help safeguard industrial automation and control systems.
For instance, the ANSI/ISA99 (IEC 62433), Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security standards—developed by a cross-section of international cybersecurity subject-matter experts from industry, government and academia—represent a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity in all industry sectors. ISA and its sister organization, the Automation Federation, is currently assisting the Obama administration and US federal agency officials develop the initial version of a national cybersecurity framework—as called for by President Obama in February of this year.
The ISA Cybersecurity Tech Pack also includes two cybersecurity-focused ISA books: the popular Industrial Network Security by David J. Teumim; and the recently introduced Industrial Automation and Control Systems Security Principles by Ronald L. Krutz, Ph.D. As an added bonus, the compilation includes many highly relevant and informative cybersecurity articles published in InTech magazine, ISA’s bi-monthly magazine for automation and control professionals.
• See also our ICS & SCada Security page