Brexit woes continue.

02/08/2016
This is a short piece from Nick Denbow, in the July Issue of Industrial Automation Insider*  on the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. See our earlier piece “Nobody knows!” (30/6/2016)

The first thing that Great Britain’s new government, under Prime Minister Theresa May and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, did was to quash talk of a new referendum that might end Brexit before it actually gets started. The government says it plans to go ahead with the exit of Great Britain from the European Union, despite angry words from Scotland and Northern Ireland, both of which client states voted emphatically to stay in the EU.

zollschildThis impacts manufacturing and automation system companies in quite a few different ways. The membership of Great Britain and Ireland in the EU made it possible to conduct business across country barriers with so much ease that the borders were essentially invisible. Personnel could be sent wherever needed, not where they were citizens. Inventory could be stored anywhere in the EU for shipment anywhere in the EU and things like FAT tests and FEED projects could be done anywhere without regard for borders.

“The connection of just about anything via the Internet is expected to grow rapidly through 2016 and well into the future, significantly boosting opportunities for tech specialists, particularly cybersecurity professionals. Complicating this is the recent investment by the EU of US $500 million to fund research into cybersecurity, and its call for industry to invest at least three times that amount to protect the EU economy from cyberattacks. Under the plan, the European Commission (EC), the EU’s executive body, has launched a public-private partnership under the European Cyber Security Organization, which calls for EU member states and cybersecurity bodies, including market players, research centers, and academia, to strengthen their cooperation and pool their knowledge to increase Europe’s cyber resilience. It’s not clear at this point where, or if, the UK would fit into this program.” –Ron Schnieiderman on IEEE Careers site.

This will no longer be true, as Brexit takes hold, and companies are now having to do significant amounts of strategic planning based on this very large Great-Britain-sized hole in the EU. Further, other countries are making noises like they might want to break up the EU entirely, which is a different bucket of fish entirely. European automation companies have prospered because of the borderless and customs-less conditions under which they have worked in the EU.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds, especially with Scotland making independence noises again, less than two years after a failed independence plebiscite.

• The Insider’s Health Watch column also reports on some Brexit related influences!
• Coincidentally the ever-interesting BMON daily had a popular piece on the possible effects of the Brexit decision on the internet – specifically the use of cookies –  The Future for EU and UK Laws on Cookies after ‘Brexit’ (3/7/2016)

*The Automation INSIDER is an independent monthly e-mail newsletter and editorial report on the continuing evolution, development and convergence of industrial automation, instrumentation and process control technologies worldwide for automation and process control system users, designers, installers and suppliers. It is compiled by Walt Boyes.


What’s the future for the electronics instrumentation sector?

11/12/2015

Looking back at the past 10-15 years of the electronic instrumentation industry, it is certainly disappointing to realize that the market for new test equipment in 2015 is about the same size or less. What does this tell us and will the industry perform better in the future?

Recently, Frost & Sullivan published three market insights about the future of the electronic industry and what will determine it, where the new opportunities for growth are, and how to stay profitable in changing economical environment.

These market insights are listed below:

Jessy_Cavazos

Jessy Cavazos – Frost & Sullivan

“In the past decade, the electronics instrumentation industry did not maximize the revenue opportunity coming from the move towards connectivity and the proliferation of electronics as most companies missed out on dramatic changes happening in the customer base,” says Jessy Cavazos, Industry Director for Test & Measurement, Frost & Sullivan.

Over the next 5-10 years, 5G and other technologies will take the electronics instrumentation market to higher frequencies spelling significant growth opportunities for test manufacturers. The move towards a more connected, zero-latency, and autonomous world will certainly provide room for growth for the electronic instrumentation market. With the Internet of Things (IoT), a myriad of devices will be connected to the Internet. While low latency will not be provided for all applications and devices in the short term due to costs, the desire for low or no latency for a number of devices and applications is here and will provide opportunities to test manufacturers.

While wireless communications and aerospace and defense will remain significant end-user segments for electronic test and measurement equipment, demand is likely to increase in smaller end-user segments such as automotive and industrial electronics due to the greater integration of wireless technology in various devices.

The world is also on the path to become more autonomous with mobile robots, drones, and autonomous cars. While all of these technologies will translate into demand for electronic instrumentation, some, such as the autonomous car, will generate significant opportunities for test manufacturers due to the onus put on safety. Leading automotive OEMs are currently embracing automated driving translating into significant R&D opportunities for test manufacturers.

The hyper connectivity of customers will also call for a greater focus from test manufacturers on their go-to-market channels. While online channels have grown in importance for mid and low-end test equipment, this trend is also relevant to more high-end expensive test equipment from a digital marketing perspective.

“The next decade will not come without challenges for the electronics instrumentation industry. However, trends are favorable to the future growth of the electronic test and measurement market. Test manufacturers must not only be aware of the evolution of technologies and related test requirements but also expand their horizons to understand the impact of other trends on their business,” summarised Ms. Cavazos.


Rewards for good automation reads!

18/09/2015

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
Jan-Feb-2014-InTech-cvrThe Keith Otto Award recognizes the author or authors of the best article in InTech magazine. The award was presented to Leif Poulsen for his article, “Life-cycle and long-term migration planning: Successfully upgrading and replacing systems in a running production environment,” which appeared in the January/February 2014 issue of InTech.

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
The Nels Tyring Award recognizes the author or authors of the best published article in one of the Society’s journals. Allan Kern is this year’s recipient for his article, “Multivariable control performance: The case for model-less multivariable control,” which appeared in the July/August 2014 issue of InTech.

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
WCFThe Raymond D. Molloy Award is presented annually in honor of Raymond D. Molloy’s contributions to the automation profession. Molloy was dedicated to the ISA publications program for more than 20 years, maintaining a keen interest in developing high-quality publications that met the needs of measurement and control professionals. This year’s award recipients are Terrence L. “Terry” Blevins, Deji Chen, Ph.D., Mark Nixon and Willy Wojsznis, Ph.D., whose book, Wireless Control Foundation: Continuous and Discrete Control for the Process Industry, outsold all other ISA books published in 2014.

• 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

ISATransactions172ISA 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.


InTech steams into your iPad!

13/03/2014

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.

InTech Plus_Part One

“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.


Insider to Sound Off – analysing automation in 2014 and beyond!

19/01/2014

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.

Europe & America in Automation

Europe & America in Automation

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?


Walt!

26/11/2013

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.”

Walt

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.

Walt_Boyes

Another scoop!

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.

news-flashWalt is Sounding Off again! (10 Dec 2013)

#ISAutowk: World-class technical content at Nashville automation event!

11/11/2013

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

Releases received at Read-out from ISA and others about the event!

# 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!

Eric Byres accepts his award!

Eric Byres accepts his award!

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.

General Robert Wheeler USAF

General Robert Wheeler USAF

“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.

Workforce Development
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.

BYVaRyjIMAAO5s_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.

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Automation Week 2012 – Orlando, Florida USA

Automation Week 2011 – Mobile, Alabama (USA)