Innovation is everwhere! OpsManage EURA meeting in Paris

22/11/2010

A 10 minute run-down for the attendees on day one!

It is a long time since Read-out actually physically attended a user group meeting. I think it was the Pantek/Wonderware event (Wonderworld) held in Northampton in England in 2006.

These events have caught on like wildfire in the last few years and Read-out has been an enthusiastic follower on the internet since and as the advancement of technology allowed. In fact in some ways I think that following these events from afar can be fairly exhausting as one tries to keep up with all the other things that fill a busy day.

We were particularly delighted to receive an inviatation to the Invensys OpsManage EURA, not only because it was being held in Paris (F) but because we were anxious to see for ourselves the transformation in this company over the past few years and how it had made liars of the naysayers and purveyors of doom. Or had it?

Way back in the sixties the king pin in process automation was Foxboro. It was regarded as the Rolls Royce of instrumentation. Then it sort of disappeared almost without trace replaced by some newbies and some others who were subsumed into vast conglomerates. Foxboro itself was bought out by Siebe a realatively unknown but adventurous British company which went on to buy Eurotherm and Wonderware. Overstreched financially they then merged with BTR and named the new company Invensys. The new company was a hodgepodge of companies which seemed not to interact with each other and this “biggest company you never heard of,” of the launching advertisements, started a spiral downwards starting the predictions of its eminent demise among the chattering classes.

From this somewhat unpromising base durning the past five or six years the company has managed to reinstate itself in its rightful place among the top five automation companies in the world. It has not been an easy task and we hoped to be able to see what the ‘culture” of the company now was.

There was remarkably little tweeting from this event as a whole which means that unless somebody was there one would not have much idea what was happening!

We arrived late on the first morning, during a coffee break and in the sizeable lobby area we were first struck by the large crowd chatting excitedly about the first two keynotes, including words for the charismatic President and CEO, Sudipta Bhattacharya. This left at least one Invensys employee with whom we spoke, ready to burst out of the auditorium and conquer the world! I was sorry to have missed that.

"Applying old remedies will not work!" Thierry Bonte

In fact the first keynote I attended was by Thierry Bonte, President Factory Systemes/Wonderware France. It was a talk on Strategic Innovation and its direction was refreshingly optimistic and open. Was this a clue as to how this company is progressing? Productivity innovation is needed now more than ever he declared. If we look around us innovation is everywhere. 90% of products in supermarkets were not there five years ago. (Another fact is that 90% of pharmaceutical products will come out of patent by 2013, which will have an impact on production too). Things are changing and will continue to change.

Press Releases
OpsManage 10 EURA
 

  • #OpsManage Virtual reality training
  • #OpsManage Partnership NC DIT and TimeZYX
  • #OpsManage Algerian expansion
  • #OpsManage Three added to partner ecosystem
  • #OpsManage Contract with Bluewater
  • #OpsManage Data recorder/controller
  • #OpsManage New standard for HF analysis
  • #OpsManage affordable Environment & safety excellence
  • #OpsManage Integrated hybrid control and data acquisition at PLC prices
  • #OpsManage Smart Glance Mobile Reports
  • #OpsManage New offerings can easily communicate and integrate as part of a unified ECS
  • Product Facts
  • 928 Official Photos (Flickr)
  •  

    People

    OpsManage People

    Other Reports

    Invensys sets the scene for operational excellence through enterprise control (Control Engineering EME 6/12/2010)

    For global companies the world is village and everything we do has an impact everywhere. We must respect the environment we find ourselves.

    He realised a fact that many people in automation and elsewhere do not understand, “Applying old remedies will not work!” But the point he made that most resonated with this correspondant because it was most obvious, was “Be aware! Make a decision on it!”

    After this talk we were entertained with a ten minute express-train type run-down of the format of the rest of the event(See picture at top-of-page). There were nearly nine hundred people attending this event and they then divided up into sessions over the two days. There were industry solutions sessions highlighting power, chemical, life sciences and oil/gas. The product sessions were designed for users and potential users who wanted to expand their product and technology strategy, direction and application knowledge – empowering users to deliver real-time results.

    There were also training sessions of various intensities, from half-day technical training workshops, ninety minute seminars or 45 minute hands-on experiences.

    A track called Enterprise Technology & Services concerned topics relevant to IT asset management, networking, cyber security, virtualization, consulting, delivery, support and learning services. Cyber security was a subject which attracted much interests considering the Stuxnet malware discovered earlier this year.

    Finally all through the event, the Collaboration EXPO was open for more casual involvement. This was an area with about 30 stands of companies both Invensys and ecosystem partner companies which offered further possibilities of plant improvement not only by use of Invensys products but also by using the additional expertese and specialist knowledge of many innovative and “niche” smaller companies. This EXPO area had four theater areas dedicated to Control Excellence, Asset Excellence, Productivity Excellence and Environment & Safety Excellence where listen and learn how to improve their performance in these areas.

    During each day a stream of announcements were made some of which were concerning the European Region, Russia and Africa, and others which had already featured in the larger OpsManage’10 North America held some weeks previously in the United States.  We have listed these in a box on the right.

    We took particular interest in the announcement, Three added to partner ecosystem, of the endorsement of three new Europen companies into the unique partnership of Invensys System Integrators (SI) – what they call their ecosystem. These companies from France, Ireland and Norway. This is not an easily achieved qualification. All SIs must undergo a detailed business process assessment and have been certified for several years on their expertise in implementing Invensys technology at customer facilities. They have been identified as providing comprehensive software solutions with a track record of increasing customer efficiency, reducing costs and maximizing customer profits. And of course we were delighted for the Irish company, ONG Automation, which is the only company in either Ireland or Britain to achieve this status.

    VP Portfolio & Strategy

    Rashesh Mody

    During the second day Rashesh Mody, Invensys Senior VP, Portfolio and Strategy, gave two keynotes, one at the start of the day giving an illustration of the company’s shorterm roadmap, “Enabling the customers’ operational excellence journey!” These were through the excellences highlighted in the theaters at the Expo part of the event: – Control Excellence, Asset Excellence, Productivity Excellence and Environment & Safety Excellence. He also delivered the final keynote on the longterm roadmap of Invensys. They have a clear understanding of the way ahead, sometimes difficult, sometimes unexpected but we got the impression that here was a company, or rather a group of companies with a common goal and working together to achieve it.
    One of the most fascinating items was spoken about by Gaetano De Santis, of the Italian ENI company.

    Gaetano De Santis

    It had the fascinating title Refinery Safety by Gaming.  This was about using the technology used in computer games for training personnel in refinerys (and in other sensitive areas). This type of training is used in the training of pilots as well. There was also an opportunity to “play” with this equipment in the Expo area. An announcement on Virtual Reality Training, which is the co-operation between Invensys and ENI, was also made during the day.

    During the meeting, Invensys Operations Management signed a strategic alliance with Russia’s National Center for Development of Innovative Technologies (NC DIT) and TimeZYX Group ( an organisation within the NIC DIT). This partnership is to deliver reservoir and surface facilities simulation to the oil & gas industry.

    In one way all these user conferences cannot be said to be entirely objective. They are not meant to be are they? Here we heard of the advances being made by one company in Africa, Russia and other territories. But are these stories that much different from those among the others of the big five? The important thing in the new paradigm is that the old way of doing business is changed utterly and what I saw in Paris told me that Invensys realises this but the transformation that is happening is an on-going development. The message is permeating through the company itself but some, perhaps many, customers remain to be convinced.

    We said earlier that we had felt that Invensys Operation Management has advanced much in the last few years in the cooperation between its various component companies while maintaining their valuable identities: AvantisEurotherm, Foxboro, InFusion, IMServ, SimSci-Esscor, Skelta, Triconex and Wonderware are without doubt Invensys companies but they are also identifiable trade names and or technologies interacting and influencing each other. Their literature though obviously a corporate design also lists these product names so the identities and traditions of each component company is alluded to. This loose-tight relationship if it continues as it has in the past should enable “the customers’ operational excellence journey!” So long as they continue to realise that “Applying old remedies will not work!” and that they continue to “be aware and make decisions on it,” Invensys Operations Management  will without doubt proudly continue to be in the top five automation companies.


    Debacle or basis for development?

    22/10/2010

    Since the doors closed on the first ISA Automation Week in Houston on the seventh of October there has been a veritable plethera of comment, counter comment, praise and vilification to an extraordinary degree. One thing we can be sure of is that people still care about ISA.

    Back to the glory days!

    We wrote our own impressions on the blog Much done more to do after our return from Houston and little we have read has made us change our mind.

    Carl Henning in ProfiBlog (ProfiSafe at ISA) the next day was obviously disappointed and remembered the glory days in the eighties, when he remembers going to the event in horse-drawn carriages, or so he says!

    Ian Verhappen (aka The Great Kanduski), another attendee, wrote in his blog and pointed out those things which could be changed like the iron-rule that nobody could enter the exhibition hall until the appointed time irrespective of whether your particular session was completed and the eating arrangements. There were many new things tried some worked and others did not.

    Walt Boyes in his Sounding Off blog reported on what people had told him of the shortcomings. He reported on the announced EIT membership of the Automation Federation which he called in his usual forthright style “the tail wagging the dog.” With regard to the event itself he says “Was Automation Week 2010 a success or a failure? I have an opinion, but you do the math yourself.”

    In marked contrast is Greg McMillan’s contribution, ISA Automation Week 2010 – The Most Important Week in my Career. He examines the technical programme on his Modeling and Control site. “The renewed emphasis on technical presentations particularly in automation and control rejuvenated my interest in the International Society of Automation. I moderated a panel discussion on loop tuning.” Greg McMillan was awarded the ISA’s coveted Life Achievement Award at the Gala Dinner the night before.

    Automation World’s Gary Mintchel refers to ISA Automation Week in his Video Essay on conference season in automation on his FeedForward Blog, where he again reported on what he had heard of the event, called, he says, by some “Automation Weak!”

    Few vendors have been willing to put their thoughts on paper into the public domain, but it is fair to say that feelings were decidedly mixed.

    ISA finally issued a wrap-up release on the 19th where Pat Gouhin, Executive Director of ISA, acknowledges the problems “Hosting a new type of conference is always exciting, yet it can be very challenging too. Early indications show support for this new type of event, with a flow and functionality that would be different from past events. And though ISA has been hosting both large and small conferences for more than 45 years, we found that an all-new format like this one, can indeed present some struggles. There are quite a few areas where we can improve our format and our execution, and we will.”

    But by far the most devastating criticism came from the pen of Jim Pinto in his Growth & Success periodical e-letter. In an article entitled ISA continues downhill slide, he moves from the reports he has heard of the event to a more general criticism of the ISA management itself. “The debacle of Automation Week now stands as witness to a serious lack of understanding as to where ISA is going, and clear confirmation that volunteer leadership is not competent to proceed. They must either change their thinking, with wrenching resolve and under full disclosure, or membership will simply wither away!” His criticisms of ISA have hardened because he feels no progress has been made in revifying the organisation as the membership numbers seem to be relentlessly declining especially in the United States.

    One of the good things to come with Automation Week was what was refered to as  Conference 2 or the Automation Week On-line Community. This was open to conference registrands and although slow to get started did manage to get a few conversations going. Dean Ford started a thread of comments after the event which gave rise to a few recommendations one of which was a pet peeve of mine: “free wireless will make it easier for people to attend (they can stay in touch) and promote AW (through social media and sharing).  We ought really to promote that, it’s a big deal for attendees.” Another concerned the extension of the symbols used in the unique Pathfinder concept, used at the event. “I think the graphic symbols for each pathway is a great concept.  Let’s use them more on the signage and in the Conference program detail section.” Yet another comment concerned the exhibition sector: “Don’t you realize the instrument technician is your end user? Sure, he doesn’t represent direct sales, but, in operating companies at least who do you think the engineers purchasing the equipment listen to? Charging a technician a minimum of $300. to step into the exhibit room which was closed most of the time anyway is hardly encouragement is it?”

    There has been some comparison with the Emerson User Group meeting which was held to great accolades the previous week. It is not altogether a fair comparison but certainly some aspects could be used with profit at Automation Week! “We could ‘borrow’ Emerson’s idea and set up a social media help booth.  They signed up hundreds of people and showed them how to use Twitter.  This created a small army of people promoting their event,” was a reasonable suggestion. There were also suggestions on how to improve the service to journalists which was so misunderstood by those who did not attend. In fact the Journalists who did attend were welcome to all sessions, meals on all the days and to the Dick Morley event on the final evening. But there was no press room as such and as mentioned earlier the wifi system at the hotel was expensive and unreliable.

    There is an ISA Automation Week LinkedIn Group too but that was generally used for announcements. There was a more spirited response on the ISA LinkedIn Group under the provocative question posed by Joe Kaulfersch: Are You attending ISA Automation Week 2010? WHY or WHY NOT?

    No doubt the coverage will continue for a while and where we know about it we will update our original blog, Much done more to do! with links to them.

    Our own view is that it was not in any way as good as we hoped but neither was it the abject failure that some had predicted or claimed. Like the curate’s egg it was good in parts. There is something there to be built on but it is going to be a tough uphill battle.  As Patrick Gouhin said, “There are quite a few areas where we can improve our format and our execution, and we will.”

    The next ISA Automation Week is to be held in Mobile, (Al US). This has led to a number of comments not all of which are complimentary to that location. The chairmen of the 2011 event, former ISA President Ken Baker says “As we begin planning for ISA Automation Week 2011, we’ll build upon the strengths of this year’s event and adjust to the dynamic environment in which we operate. We’ll review the format and what we’ve learned, and we’ll look at ways to optimize all aspects of the experience for everyone.”

    The wealth of interest in ISA and the genuine affection held for the organisation among its members is not enough to see a triumphant Automation Week. No! A lot of very hard work from a professional staff, a realisation among them and among the members that the world has changed and an ability and imagination to harness those changes, and a marked dedication to detail that ensures that silly pin-prick problems are eliminated combined with the good will of the automation community must ensure that #ISAwk 2011 in Mobile will assume the status  for a twenty first century Carl Hennings that Philadelphia in the eighties had for the twentieth century one.

    We shall see.


    Much done more to do Automation Week 2010

    10/10/2010

    See other opinions from blogs linked at the bottom of the page!

    The last ISAExpo took place in Houston (TX US) in 2009. It had been flagging somewhat in the previous years and it was thought that a new format would better serve the automation community. The format decided upon was a “Technology and Solutions Event” which would have streams of talks and forums with a small support exhibition. This was to be called Automation Week and the first occurred in the first week of October 2010.

    Greg McMillan, ISA Life Achievement Award, with President Nelson Ninan and 2008 President Kim Dunn

    The event started, like all good events, the night before with ISA’s annual – it was the 48thHonours & Awards Gala, during which fourteen awards were presented to thirty individuals or organizations who had made invaluable contributions to the automation profession. Among these Greg McMillan achieved the life achievement award of the society: “In recognition of a 40-year career of innovation in process control technology through invention, publication of articles, papers and books, as well as teaching the application of control theory.” (He recounts his memories on his blog, The most important week of my career!)

    ISA Automation Week’s various tracks were to offer conference topics centered on the most critical issues in industry including safety, energy concerns, and compliance at industrial facilities, best practice and applications. The tracks were run under the broad headings

      • Automation and Control
      • Energy
      • Environmental
      • Human Asset Optimization
      • Safety
      • Security
      • Wireless and Networking

    The pre-event blurb stated: “ISA Automation Week is an in-depth technical conference with a focused exhibit component featuring over 100 vendors. It will deliver critical knowledge on the theory and application of automation technologies in processing and manufacturing environments through vendor-neutral content across seven technical tracks. As an integral part of the conference, vendor exhibits will supplement technical sessions with hands-on, real-world solutions and networking opportunities. Each session has been designed with specific content for five identified career paths: Engineer, Technician, Management, Marketing, and Academia/R&D/Scientist. Using the PathFinder tool, attendees can create a unique combination of sessions covering topics across all tracks, for a comprehensive look at their profession.”

    So was it?

    Well yes and no!

    Certainly it was a comprehensive if unadventurous conference programme. I understand that conference attendance was up on the conference component of the old ISAExpo with a figure of over 1500 quoted.

    Jon DiPietro delivers "Social Networking Tools for the Engineer."

    Discussions on security were particularly apt in view of the Stuxnet worm discovered in July.  The talks on Human Asset Optimization were also good featuring items on education, training and how to attract youth to the automation profession. (This latter drawing on mentoring experience in the Atlanta ISA section (delivered by Glynn Mitchell of the section), the US defense industry and Canadian expertise). This track also featured the only exposé on social networking and how it is changing  (has changed?) our way of getting out there using the “inbound marketing” model from DomesticatingIT’s indefatigable Jon DiPietro, who is also received the ISA’s Emerging Leader Award. Safety too is an important issue and was the subject of one of the keaynotes as we will mention later.

    The rooms in which the presentations were made has a design problem in that they tended to be too large and without side aisles which would have facilitated late entrants not disturbing the more prompt attendees. The talks were by and large well attended and as far as I could see there was excellent audience participation despite these drawbacks. Problems like this could have been surmounted without much difficulty or any cost and I think  the organisers will have been on a steep learning curve for the next event.

    The talks were unbiased as one has come to expect from ISA. This is an important aspect when one considers the number of vendor supported user group meetings which are no proliferating the scene. As against that it seemed to lack a certain excitement that some of the user group events generate.  There was no “tweet-up” for instance, which would have been nice. However there was some web broadcasting of sessions which was good and more importantly was in fact used by people who could not attend. The forum for attendees called Conference 2 was a brave initiative and after a slow start people seemed to get the idea and some interesting posts ensued. Contributors were those who had registered for the Conference and further signed up to this forum. Using this facility attendees could make out a personal schedule for the event. 235 of the attendees signed up, which was not at all bad for a new kind of participation. Kudos to ISA for intiative in this but there was one small catch if you hadn’t paid the exhorbitant fees demanded by the host hotel or did not have an internet connection -and as an European I had not – then you could not access or refer to this schedule. But more on this later.

    They deserve kudos too for the PathFinder tool, unique as far as I can make out for such an event, which allowed various career individuals to customise the event to their individual job function and goals. Technicians, Engineers, Management, Marketing, and Academia/R&D/Scientists were guided as to the best conference path to take.

    Part of Exhibition Area (pic marketguy48)

    The venue itself was, to my mind, unsuitable as it did not allow for a  cohesive event, some meetings being across a shopping mall from the main events and up a lift (to the 24th floor. The exhibition area was an odd shape, although the eating, and drinking, areas were arranged to facilitate the viewing of stands or booths in areas that otherwise might have been missed. The design of the main registration area also was not very open, hidden as it was in part by a formal staircase which led to the exhibition area. Finally, and perhaps most seriously of all, as we have mentioned earlier, there was not free internet or wi-fi available at the venue. This was not entirely the fault of ISA as the hotel venue (Westin Galleria),  follows an unfortunately common policy of charging exhorbitant rates for this most basic of facilities for the modern business. An unfortunate byproduct of this lacuna was that live tweets from the event were few and far between in marked contrast with the almost constant tweet traffic engendered by the Emerson even in nearby city of San Antonio the previous week.  (By contrast this correspondant stayed in a hotel nearby with free internet access as part of the service.)

    I have heard various reports, unrelenting bad from people who were not there and a mixture from those who were. The main complaint that I heard was that the exhibition area was closed during the time that the seminars were in progress. I think that there is a case for closing the exhibition floor during say the first half hour of the conferences sessions, and then to re-open. This would facilitate the conference registrends going promptly to their chosen topic.  It would also enable these same people to go into the exhibition if their particular talk finished earlier than indicated on the timetable.

    The other complaint voiced, not only at the event itself but also prior to it at the ISA governance meetings that preceded Automation Week, was that the Exhibition was not open to non conference attendees, not even to people who were attending the various ISA Standards meetings being held during that week unless they had paid the conference fee. I did in fact speak to some of these “standard bearers” who  could only attend the exhibition component on the Monday afternoon when it was freely open.This seemed to me a bit shortsighted of the organisers.

    I also heard from exhibitors but didn’t see first hand nor was I able to confirm. Some exhibitors (who presumably had not read the pre-event literature) had invited possible customers to meet them at the exhibition who were turned away at the door unless they paid the day fee for the conference. As I say I cannot confirm this particular complaint. Teething troubles like these perhaps might have been expected to have been ironed out before hand.

    OK that’s enough of the cribs.

    ISA has to be congratulated on providing two excellent keynote speakers in Dean Kamen, founder of an organisation that fosters and encourages young schoolgoers to embrace science and technology, called FIRST. We have written our comments on his address in another blog “Dean Kamen enthuses Automation Week!”.  Suffice it to say of the many ISA Keynotes I have attended this was by far the most inspirational. Yes it was an appeal for support for his organisation but it was also inspirational and moving.

    The speaker on day two was also extremely interesting. David Cummins of  the DuPont organisation. He outlined the strategys that should be used to ensure personnel and plant safety colouring his presentation with the forward thing attitude of the DuPont founder,  E. C. DuPont, in the early 19th century, an attitude that many companies could well emulate in formulating safety policies the 21st.

    The meals, provided as part of the entrance fee, was of excellent quality, though the lack of a place to sit down in the Exhibition area and outside foyer was a problem.

    Dick Morley - Father of the PLC

    For many however the highlight of the event was on Tuesday night when we took off  our spurs and moseyed on in for a cowboy buffet dinner and bar, served in a light-hearted Texas setting straight out of the Old West!  The blurb said, “Grab some vittles – and then hang on to your 10-gallon hat! You’re in for a unique evening of music and entertainment, culminating in a very special appearance by one of the most recognized, creative and extraordinary intellects in these here parts – automation’s own Dick “Barn Stormer” Morley.”

    And he was in superb form giving his unique perspective in stories with unique and abandoned mixture of  fiction and stimulating fact. That and the fact that he shared his extraordinary orgasmic chocolate as a climax to the presentation. Nuff said!

    Carlo Schafer - from freak to geek!

    An unexpected highlight of this evening however was ISA’s very own Carol “Cow Tip” Schafer and her famous Red Guitar as she set the stage with some music and fun to get the evening  started. I doubt if many will forget her “Geek Song “ where she recounted her transformation from “freak to geek,” and had everyone in stitches with her topical verses. Hopefully somebody sometime – and I hope soon – will put her on utube. She deserves to go viral.

    All in all I think we can say it was an interesting conference, a learning experience for exhibitors and for ISA, not as good or exciting as we might have hoped but by no means an abject failure. We might say “they done good but they could’ve done better!” And from what I have seen of the preparations for the next Automation Week they will provide an event and a venue much more close to the promise for this year’s.

    Mark you diaries therefore for ISA Automation Week 2011, in the deep south of the United States, in Mobile, Alabama from 17-20 October, 2011.

    See you there.

    Here are some more links:

    BLOGTwo hectic Automation Weeks! The tweeting Hashtag is #ISAwk 

    Dean Kamen enthuses Automation Week!

    Recorded webcasts at Automation Week

    Tour the Cosa & Xentaur booth (YouTube ca 4 Minutes)

    News releases at Automation Week:

    ISA Automation Week: Wrap-up (ISA Release 19th October)

  • ASCO Numatics announces scholorships
  • FDT Group Releases
  • Iconics Releases
  • IET joins Automation Federation

  • Comments on other blogs!

  • ISA Automation Week Conference – Gary Mintchell looks forward and back 24th Jan 2011
  • Profibus at #ISAwk
  • Ian Verhappen comments
  • ISA’s Automation Federation Wags the Dog Walt Boyes – 14th Oct 2010
  • ISA Automation Week 2010 – The Most Important Week in my Career Greg McMillan – 15th Oct 2010
  • Video Essay on conference season in automation from Gary Mintchel – 16 Oct 2010
  • ISA continues downhill slide (Jim Pinto – 21 Oct 2010)
  • Debacle or basis for developement? (Eoin Ó Riain 22 Oct 2010)
  • ISA Automation Week 2010 Wrap-up (Automation.com 27 Oct 2010)
  • Some pictures taken at event – not good quality but perhaps give a flavour!

    Honour & Awards Dinner (4 Oct)

    The Official H&A Photos

    #ISAwk Days 1 & 2 (5th & 6th Oct)

    Jon DiPietro’s Pictures(On Facebook!)

    More Pics (marketguy48 on yfrog)

    More pics on the ISA Automation Flickr Site.

    ISA Automation Week 2011 will be held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, (AL US), on 17-20 October, 2011.


     

    Did you attend Automation Week 2010? What did you think? The Automation Week Forum would like your honest (and positive) opinions. Only registered attendees can participate so it will be a truly “experiential” critique!

    Place and date for technology and solutions event

    03/10/2010
    ISA announces location and dates for ISA Automation Week 2011

    Venue for #ISAwk 2011

    The International Society of Automation (ISA), has announced that ISA Automation Week 2011: Technology and Solutions Event will be held at the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center in Mobile, Alabama, USA, on 17-20 October, 2011.

    “The City of Mobile has welcomed us with open arms. From top to bottom, Mobile is a perfect match for ISA Automation Week 2011. The convention center is a state-of-the-art facility that will accommodate our expected growth and expansion and enable us to continue providing a quality experience for attendees,” said 2010 ISA President Nelson Ninin.

    Winner of numerous architectural awards, the Arthur R. Outlaw Mobile Convention Center offers ISA Automation Week a flexible floor plan that will accommodate a planned expansion from 2010 in response to increased demand from industry.

    “ISA Automation Week will continue to raise the bar for the technical conference. With an exhibitor waiting list of almost 50% of our total 2010 capacity, we’re expanding in response to the positive feedback and interest industry has shown this premier event. ISA’s unbiased technical content is, and has been for decades, unmatched by most other automation conferences in the US and perhaps the world,” said ISA Executive Director and CEO Pat Gouhin. “With early interest and demand, we are very excited about our 2011 annual event.”.

    Conveniently connected to the convention center via a skywalk, the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel will serve as ISA’s official host hotel. Historic Battle House Renaissance Mobile Hotel & Spa will provide additional meeting space for auxiliary events held during ISA Automation Week 2011.

    Mobile, along with most cities on the Gulf of Mexico, provides a great market base for ISA Automation Week exhibitors, with several key industries represented, including petrochemical, aerospace, automotive, steel, energy and general manufacturing. Its attractive coastal location offers attendees traveling from around the globe a welcome, relaxing venue as they pursue their professional development goals.

    “The Mobile Section of ISA is looking forward to welcoming ISA Automation Week 2011 to the city of Mobile. We’re thrilled to contribute to ISA Automation Week and are looking forward to making it a huge success,”
    concluded ISA Mobile Section President Ryan McKee.


    The start of two hectic weeks…#EMrex #ISAwk

    24/09/2010

    The last week of September and the first of October promise to be hectic for automation professionals endevouring to keep up with developments.

    Emerson Global Users Exchange kicks off the frenzy on 27th September and continues until Friday 1st October. Last years was an exciting affair and Readout attended “virtually” and some of the streamed sessions were excellent. We wrote a brief report this in our blog  as “Real and virtual at Conference.” This year they intend streaming some of the sessions again on the Livestream site. A facility is included to register so that one may be advised in good time when a presentation is to be streamed.

    Here are Some Handy Links to Know for Emerson Exchange for both personal or virtual participants from  Emerson’s blogger par excellence, Jim Cahill.

    People may also follow the event on twitter using the #EMrex hash tag. It is surprising the amount of information that may be gleaned from these 140 character messages.

    This event is being held in San Antonio (TX US).

    In the same US state, down the road so to speak, in Houston, the ISA’s Automation Week is been held in the following week. It starts with the annual ISA Gala Event commemorating innovators and trail-blazers in the automation field throughout the world. This is on the evening of Monday 4th October.

    The event proper starts on the next morning and the programme looks exciting and innovative. They have a facility on the website for visitors to plan their time there. They may navigate their way through the dozens of conference options with PathFinder. This assists them in selecting their own unique combination of sessions—a conference “path”—that shapes a learning experience suited to the participant’s individual job function and professional goals.

    In preparation for this event the organisers have also instituted an on-line community, where participants may articulate their particular interests and perhaps meet. Called conference 2.0, through this new feature challenges can be identified and solutions can be proposed before the first stroll through the exhibit hall or the first word spoken by a speaker.  Pat Gouhin, Executive Director and CEO of ISA commented that this feature “is designed to add to the intimacy and networking opportunities that are a key value proposition in the new ISA Automation Week model.”

    ISA Automation Week may also be followed on twitter using the #ISAwk hashtag.

    Read-out’s Eoin Ó Riain will be a virtual attendee at #EMRex but hopes to attend Automation week in person and hopes to meet his many twitter, LinkedIn and facebook followers and friends there.


    Maximising your Automation Week experience – on-line!

    28/08/2010

    We mentioned in a side box in a recent blog that ISA’s Automation Week 2010: Technology and Solutions Event features an online community to help you network with like-minded automation professionals.

    We have now had a chance to go through the community site and it really is very good and well worth it for participants in this event.

    Here are four things you can do on the community site.

    It's good to talk!

      Start a conversation.
      Make the conference about you.
      Find out about what you want to know by asking the speakers and attendees what’s on your mind. (Some conversations have started already – will you be attending Dick Morley’s Cowboy event on Wednesday? you can learn more about it here, Yah Hoo!).

      Build a schedule.
      You can build your own personal schedule and take it anywhere you like. Export it to outlook or iCal to carry your schedule on your phone/pda, or print it out and bring it with you (This is possibly the coolest part of this resource, especially if you hate going through programmes and wondering what to do. I can’t wait to play with this. You will also see who else is going!)
      Connect with people within your industry.
      Once you build your profile, the online community will give you a list of people that you “match” with based on your interest that you have tagged yourself with. How could networking get any easier? (I nice feature too, again looks fun. “Contacts” helps you match with relevent attendees.)

      Schedule private meetings.
      Do you have some people that you absolutely need to spend some time with while you are at ISA Automation Week? Why not schedule some time for the two or three of you to meet. It’s easy to set up and edit. (Again this is a good example of easy to arrange meeting schedules!)

    “Make the most of your conference experience by joining and participating at the ISA Automation Week online community today,” advises a spokesperson.

    Participants in this event may start their experience now by clicking on the “Online Community link” (on the right hand side of the main Automation Week home page and setting up a profile. Lots have including the writer. I look forward to seeing you on-line and in person in Houston.

    See you there.


    Preparing for Automation Week

    11/08/2010

    ISA introduces PathFinder, a new conference schedule-selection tool

    The International Society of Automation (ISA) has introduced PathFinder, a unique selection tool designed to assist ISA Automation Week (#ISAwk on twitter) attendees in developing a personalized conference schedule based upon individual job function and professional goals. ISA Automation Week 2010 is scheduled for 4-7 October at the Westin Galleria Hotel in Houston, Texas, USA,.

    Another facility for attendees is the on-line discussion facility for all intending attendees at Automation Week to discuss their intentions, reasons etc., prior to the event.
    “Take advantage of this exclusive on-line forum by engaging in conversations with other attendees, speakers, and vendors. Find out from others what sessions they’re interested in attending, and what their ‘hot buttons’ are!”

    …This facility “is designed to add to the intimacy and networking opportunities that are a key value proposition in the new ISA Automation Week model.”

    PathFinder targets five professional groups:

  • Engineers
  • Technicians
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Academia/R&D/Scientists
  • It allows attendees to navigate their way through dozens of conference sessions covering seven technical tracks: Automation and Control, Energy, Environmental, Human Asset Optimization, Safety, Security, and Wireless and Networking. While all sessions in general appeal to automation professionals across all functions, each session has been identified as containing content specifically for one or more job functions, or career “paths.”

    The technical program is available from the Automation Week Site and illustrates sessions and options for each technical track.

    Using the PathFinder tool, attendees will be able to personalize a conference agenda to help them gain knowledge and insight into a broad variety of topics pertaining to their job functions. In addition, conferees can choose to build their schedules based upon a particular technical track or combination of tracks.

    “An engineer at a power plant, for example, can look at the conference schedule and select sessions in the Energy Track for an in-depth look at today’s energy topics relevant to his industry. He can also choose to follow the Engineer Path; where he might attend a Smart Grid panel discussion in the Security Track, an alarm management session in the Safety Track, a social networking session in the Human Asset Optimization Track, and so on,” said ISA Automation Week Program Committee Co-chair, Gerald Cockrell of Indiana State University.

    “In a tough economy, it can sometimes be hard to justify attending a technical conference, especially if the program is vague and not clearly defined. ISA Automation Week’s strong technical program clearly outlines the content and purpose of each session, and PathFinder easily identifies who benefits from attending it, making the approval and justification process for both the employer and employee easier,” Cockrell concluded.

    ISA Automation Week is a content-rich automation conference spanning 2 ½ days of technical sessions, includes two keynote addresses, networking and social events, and boasts over 10,000 net square feet of technical exhibits featuring 100+ exhibitors.