JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 267: 12 June 2009

Keeping an eye on technology futures.
Business commentary - no hidden agendas.
New attitudes, no platitudes.

Click on any item to jump directly to that item
Download audio MP3 file
MP3 Audio File
13 mins.

JimPinto.com eNews can be automatically downloaded via RSS links.
Jim Pinto eNews RSS link Link: http://jimpinto.com/enews.xml

"One-Schneider" launches Energy University

Last week, I attended Schneider Electric's Analysts Conference in Newport, Rhode Island. I was there in my automation-analyst role, along with ARC and Frost & Sullivan, and the likes of Gartner and IDC from the IT industry.

Several key executives were there. It was interesting to note the eclectic executive mix included just one genuine Frenchman, dynamic Laurent Vernerey, who acquired Citect in Australia and is now CEO of APC. Other key international executives included Chris Curtis, CEO of the North American Operating Division; Jose Rivera, Senior VP Strategy for Automation; Aaron Davis, ex-APC and now Chief Marketing Officer for Schneider; and Paul Hamilton, (ex-Modicon) VP for the Energy Efficiency Program.

For the year-end 2008 Schneider had revenues over $ 25B, 6% growth (10% annual average), with earnings of $ 3.8B up 7.5%. These are significant results, considering the current recessionary environment.

Schneider is based in France, with an interesting history dating back to 1836. Its conversion from an old-line company came through the imagination and drive of Henri Lachmann, now Chairman of the Supervisory Board. The current CEO, Jean-Pascal Tricoire (46) is a dynamic executive whose enthusiasm and drive resonates through all the Schneider people we met. His key focus: "Our business is to make energy safe, reliable, efficient, productive, and green, 'from plant to plug(TM)'."

The new "One Schneider" program provides focus for the company's many different acquisitions and brands. Business managers are judged by strict metrics which include success in achieving the integrations and branding to the new Schneider vision. An inter-company R&D team has been created to foster technology transfers among the various business units.

Gary Mintchell, Editor of Automation World, attended the editor's day meeting which followed the Analysts conference. Gary wrote in his blog:

    "Every time I attend a Schneider Electric event lately, I'm amazed at how the company has remade itself over the last four years or so. The relatively new CEO has extensive international experience, including a tour as country manager for China. The executive team is thoroughly international. It is definitely no longer a classic French company.

    "The latest large acquisition of APC (power and UPS systems) proves the point. Instead of trying to superimpose the Schneider culture on it, they allowed themselves to absorb the APC culture. Indeed, the corporate chief marketing officer, Aaron Davis, comes from APC and most of the corporate (this means for the entire company) marketing team is from APC."

At these meetings with Analysts and Press, Schneider announced the debut of Energy University, a vendor-neutral, online educational community that provides the fundamentals needed to implement successful energy efficient solutions. Courses are product-agnostic, and experts from all areas of the company assist in the development. This online learning center, open to everyone, accentuates One-Schneider's energy theme, with tools, solutions and products, to help everyone - customers, suppliers and the general public - to achieve improved energy usage.

Paul Hamilton has a new role as Senior VP of Schneider's Energy & Solution University. After all the (perhaps polite) positive commentary for visiting analysts and editors, I pointedly asked Paul, "So, what's wrong with Schneider Electric?".

Paul's response: "Of course, there is a lot wrong here as there is with any company. What's different is the transparent attitude and the single minded commitment that we have a unique skill set and position in the marketplace that will allow us to separate ourselves from the traditional competition. Unlike much of the negative commentary you see in your weblogs, you will not find a lot of people in Schneider Electric condemning the past or the present. We are focused on the future and our belief that we can build new value around energy management for our customers and business value to our investors."

And then Paul Hamilton, who joined Schneider through the acquisition of Modicon over a decade ago, explained why he is still enthusiastic about the company, "After many years and many changes this is still a fun place to work!"

Click Pinto: Schneider Electric - Aggressive French Giant

Click Schneider Electric website

Click Schneider Energy University

Click Video: Schneider Electric Launches Energy University

Return to the TOP

Future of the Internet

While PCs were once the primary means of accessing the Internet, we're now seeing Internet-enabled devices such as PDAs and cell phones that access the Web. Soon, everything from your car to your refrigerator will be connected to the global network, machine-to- machine (M2M) to provide new functionality.

Here is what the Internet will look like in 2020:

  • Mobile devices will be primary connections to the Internet.
  • Voice recognition and touch user-interfaces will be prevalent.
  • Intellectual property and copyright protection will be continuing battles.
  • Spam and virus attacks will remain major problems.
  • Reduced divisions between personal time and work time, impacting social relationships.
  • Current internet architecture will be improved (rather than attempts to rebuild architecture from scratch).
  • Connection speeds, processing power and memory storage will continue to increase, providing steadily improving functionality.
But, the current Internet architecture is running into problems, precisely because of its runaway success. It is on a path to a lockdown, ending the cycle of innovation, and demanding new kinds of control - against spam, virus-attacks and sheer abuse of "free" web-based access.

Here's a major problem which few recognize: IPods, iPhones, Xboxes, and TiVos represent the first wave of "tethered appliances" that cannot easily be modified by anyone except their vendors or selected partners. These are already being used to control users' behaviors in insidious ways: GPS systems can be reconfigured to eavesdrop on users; TiVO reports what you've been watching; cellphone emails can be monitored; Google and Facebook applications can be controlled from a central source, making censorship easy. The very nature of the Internet - its innovative character - is at risk.

Several emerging technologies are being developed by a consortium of about 300 members - US educational institutions, corporations and government agencies. Known as Internet2, this spans the globe with hundreds of high-speed networks linked by fiber optic backbones.

Internet2 transmits data at speeds up to 100 gigabits per second, some 1000 times faster than today's cable-modems. This allows many real-world, high speed applications, and makes way for 21st century services like interactive television, virtual 3-D videoconferencing, and other new-generation applications.

Beyond just providing network capacity, Internet2 actively engages in development of important new technology including middleware, network research and performance measurement capabilities which are critical to the progress of the primary Internet. A key feature will be Security: to monitor, filter and limit all traffic on the network. High-speed networks will make it possible to work in ways never possible before.

Click Vint Cerf on the Internet's future

Click Internet2 - Member focused, member led

Click Internet Shutdown

Click Internet2 - It's better, it's faster. You can't use it

Return to the TOP

Future of Social Welfare

What is a welfare state? The simple answer is a government that provides for the total well-being of all its citizens.

The welfare state is somewhat "socialist" in nature. It redistributes wealth by heavily taxing the middle and upper classes in order to provide goods and services for those seen as underprivileged.

One of the greatest challenges of sustainable growth is to combine the desires for economic prosperity and social security - reconciling the power of free markets with the reassuring protections of social insurance.

Most advanced nations are not true welfare states, although many provide at least some social services or entitlement programs designed to help the most vulnerable.

This debate is clouded by ideology and vested interests. "Supply-siders" claim that the best way to achieve well-being for the poor is by spurring rapid economic growth which "trickles down". They usually insist that the higher taxes needed to fund high levels of social insurance cripples prosperity.

The Achilles-heel of Democracy is that the rich control the media to manipulate the middle-class, and the poor don't vote, and so power gravitates to wealth. In an Autocracy, welfare is seen as benevolence of the power structure.

In most rich societies, poverty is viewed as the result of personal failures and deficiencies. This perception rests on several myths: Poverty results from a lack of responsibility; Welfare leads to chronic dependency; it provides a disincentive to work and a set of defective values and personality traits. For some, even the term "welfare" is a pejorative.

These negative myths and stereotypes reinforce the agenda to cut welfare spending, and true reform will continue to be ineffective if we do not separate myth from fact.

There are 3 key issues in the welfare and social security debate which have profound implications:

  1. The impact of globalization on welfare state economies;
  2. The problem of aging populations;
  3. The decline in fertility.
As we proceed to the future, all industrial nations are aging; for most, their major social welfare expense is becoming programs for the aged. As a greater proportion of the population ages, the burden on the rest will become too great to sustain. In America, the bubble of retirement entitlements will inevitably bankrupt social security, dwarfing other welfare problems.

Industrial countries have undergone sharp declines in fertility; only America has retained a positive replacement rate, primarily because of immigration. For Europe and other "first-world" countries, the economic consequences of this trend with social welfare programs are calamitous.

The swings from the perceived benevolence of "socialism" to the misunderstood malevolence of "capitalism" will continue in the future. Perhaps forever.

Click The Social Welfare State, beyond Ideology

Click Book: Globalization and the Future of the Welfare State

Click What is a Welfare State?

Click Five Media Myths About Welfare

Return to the TOP

High-value Manufacturing

The age of large factories is over. Today's markets are consumption limited, not production limited. In the new paradigm, mass-produced components are shipped to small, widely dispersed factories that assemble finished products locally to meet custom requirements at the point of sale.

Manufacturing matters. A national economy begins to decline as its wealth-producing sectors shrink: manufacturing, mining and agriculture. Other parts of the economy - government, banking, information services, education, insurance, health care, consumer services - maintain and use physical wealth, but do not create it. They depend on manufacturing and other wealth-producing sectors for their growth.

American manufacturing is historically responsible for the relatively higher standard of living enjoyed by Americans compared to other countries, and a thriving manufacturing base is necessary to allow that trend to continue.

How can the US economy be strong if Manufacturing is weak? The paradoxical answer is that the decline in the share of manufacturing jobs - deindustrialization of the US economy - is actually a sign of strength, not weakness.

As with agriculture 100 years before, the drop in employment in Manufacturing stems from spectacular productivity growth. Over the last three decades, improved automation has churned out manufactured goods with ever-increasing efficiency. The US economy no longer needs lots of factory workers for the same reason it no longer needs lots of farmers - it can produce what it requires with far fewer people.

The question quickly becomes: how to redeploy the vast numbers of people displaced from conventional jobs in large, central factories? Recessions, however unpleasant, are cathartic, and therefore necessary. They release capital and labor from profitless activities as an essential prelude to redeploying them elsewhere. The challenge today is re-deploying our "labor" force to lead the world in new manufacturing directions.

Manufacturing high-value products doesn't mean simply cutting, shaping, assembling. We must focus our prowess not on manufacturing commodities, but rather on becoming innovators and specialists in new types of high-value manufacturing such as nano-assembly, micro-mechanical systems, chemical engineering or bio mechanisms.

Click Automation World - High-value Manufacturing

Click New Workplace Paradigms

Click Manufacturing strategies in the global environment

Return to the TOP

Book: Automation Made Easy

Industrial Automation is a complex mixture of many different types of instruments, systems, hardware, software and services - in many different types of applications.

If you're confused or perplexed, this new book by two experienced automation experts will help. Dr. Peter Martin, Vice President of Invensys Process Systems, has teamed up with Gregory Hale, Editor of ISA's InTech magazine, to publish a new book, "Automation Made Easy: Everything You Wanted to Know about Automation - and Need to Ask".

Peter Martin has authored numerous published articles and technical papers, has written two automation books and holds multiple patents. He was named one of Fortune magazine's Hero of US Manufacturing, and was also named as one of the "50 Most Influential Innovators of All Time" by ISA.

Gregory Hale is the editor of InTech magazine, the official publication of ISA, the International Society of Automation. Prior to becoming editor of InTech in 1999, Greg Hale had extensive editorial, web, and management experience.

This easy-to-read book provides a basic functional understanding about industrial automation. The authors break down the barriers and confusion surrounding technical details and terminology. They provide an introductory-level approach, ideal for executives, business, marketing, advertising and sales managers, IT and maintenance people, production planners, accounting managers. Here's an in-depth but easy overview for people new to the field who want to be quickly educated.

Click Book: Peter G. Martin & Greg Hale - Automation Made Easy
Everything You Wanted to Know about Automation-and Need to Ask

Return to the TOP


John E. Blaesi [John.E.Blaesi@conocophillips.com] is passionate about the future of energy:
    "The biggest obstacle to the future of energy is closed thinking. I am always hearing tidbits such as 'We can't use wind, because the wind does not blow all the time', 'We can't use solar, because the sun does not shine all the time', then they quit thinking.

    "Come on guys, think outside the box, make the unimaginable happen. Who would have thought 25 years ago that today I could hold 16,000 floppies on a device smaller than my little finger. Look where we could be now if we had funded and sustained research on alternate fuels since the 'gas crunch' of the 70's. We may run out of any one form of energy or another, but there will also be energy on Earth - if man takes the steps to utilize and conserve."

Return to the TOP

Bob Fritz [rfritz@avtron.com] raises several practical points regarding the future of wars:

    "Jim, your thesis is that WMDs have made war so terrible that we will stop resorting to it. Alfred Nobel said this about his invention of dynamite and Robert Gatling thought the same about his machine gun. Both were wrong. I doubt this will happen. Mutual Assured Destruction, which prevented US-USSR wars, only works if both parties think they have too much to lose.

    "There will be two things different about war in the future (and now). First, it is non-symmetric. Fanatics are willing to blow themselves up even if they know they cannot destroy the enemy militarily. They are willing to die to cause damage which will upset the enemy's electorate, please their own god, or whatever. The guy who blows up a police station with dynamite would not be deterred from blowing up a city with a nuclear bomb, assuming he got one from the North Koreans or someone else.

    "Second, war is very transparent. This means that our side cannot incinerate thousands of civilians as we did at Dresden; summarily execute enemies caught in acts of terror without uniforms, as we did with German spies on Long Island; drop artillery at random into middle class neighborhoods, as the US Army did in 1863 at Charleston; or burn thousands of enemies' homes to the ground as General Sherman did in 1864. Our 'non-symmetric' enemies know this.

    "Accordingly, we can no have wars with an objective which we can pursue with single-minded determination to quickly bring victory. Instead, we have endless munge-ing and bumbling, going to and fro trying to root out a few terrorists from friendly (to them) civilian populations. Such wars go on seemingly forever, exhausting the stronger power financially and emotionally, until at last the stronger power's population demands that they give up and lose. This happened to us in Viet Nam, and to the USSR in Afghanistan. It will probably happen to us in Iraq and Afghanistan unless we are willing to obliterate some parts (which is what we would have done in WWII), or come up with some other model."

Return to the TOP

Tangela Coon-Miller [dm2754@netonecom.net] provides some excellent tips regarding the future of health care:

    "Recently, when listening to NPR, they had Dr. Pam Popper talking about the future of healthcare treatments. I guess a growing number of physicians are turning against drugs and surgeries. They are healing people with lifestyle changes. These doctors speak out against drugs, meat, dairy products/milk, etc... I'm wondering about the future of the drug, meat and dairy industries....

    "Dr. Popper also talked about how our lab results (like Cholesterol and Sugar) should be something that is bragged about. Our lab results should be an important part of our life. I was thinking that 'Super Labs' will become part of our future. We need to get our lab work done quarterly (not yearly). Clinical labs need to be able to process millions of lab results for just pennies. We need Super Labs! Lab results are the largest preventative measure.

    "Also, will exercise be blended into our lifestyles more frequently? Hopefully, people will invent ways to get exercise into our daily lives. It is so hard to make time for exercise."

Return to the TOP

JimPinto.com eNews - on the web

If you've missed a couple of issues of eNews, or wish to refer to earlier items, please note : You can see ALL past issues online at :

Click Index of ALL past JimPinto.com eNews

eSpeak to me

If smell something fishy in your pond, please e-let me know and I'll check it out. Please send your tips and alerts, your news, views and stews. I'd like to e-hear from you.

If you have comments or suggestions for Growth & Success News, please contact me directly at : Click Jim@JimPinto.com

Subscribe or Unsubscribe

If you got this eNews through someone else, you might like to subscribe for a regular free copy, direct to your own email. Just click your mouse on :
Sign up for regular hot news, views and stews

Or, simply send a blank email message to:
Click Sign-up@JimPinto.com
with subject line: "sign me up for JimPinto.com E-mail news".

To be removed send a blank email message to:
Click eRemove@JimPinto.com with subject line "Remove".

Stay in e-touch!


Get your
Autographed Copy

Pinto's Points
Pinto's Points
How to win in the
Automation Business

Pinto Picks
Business & Investing

Watch Video Previews, browse books, DVDs, widgets

Go shopping - books, electronics, CD/DVD

Selected advertising coming here.
Contact Jim Pinto
for rates.

Selected advertising coming here.
Contact Jim Pinto
for rates.

Return to eNews Index Return to eNews Index

Return to Jimpinto.com Homepage Return to JimPinto.com HomePage

If you have ideas or suggestions to improve this site, contact: webmaster@jimpinto.com
Copyright 2000-01-02 : Jim Pinto, San Diego, CA, USA