JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 299 : 20 October 2011

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

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Generating Jobs - Make it in America

Getting the unemployed re-employed isnt just about putting people to work. There are 3 million jobs in this country that remain unfilled, while more than 6 million Americans (about 45% of the unemployed) have been out of work for more than a year. There is a sharp disconnect between the skills employers need and what unemployed workers have to offer. Central to the problem is that manufacturing has eroded, costing millions of jobs.

In a new (January 2011) book, "Make It in America", Andrew Liveris, Chairman and CEO of Dow Chemical, says that for decades US businesses relied blindly on market forces and free trade to boost their economy, while sending jobs overseas because it fattened corporate profits. Meanwhile, many other countries were providing large subsidies for foreign manufacturers, while investing in their own infrastructure, education and workforce training.

As US multinationals moved factories abroad, they moved research and engineering centers too, to keep them close to assembly lines and because of enticing foreign government incentives. The blind, short-term profit-motive reduced American competitiveness and longer-term global leadership.

Liveris makes a key point: The US isn't losing ground because of low wages in other countries. American high productivity makes up for much of that. The problem is that other countries are attracting US companies with generous incentives and tax breaks. The US needs to match those, with incentives, such as reducing taxes for manufacturers and making the R&D tax credits permanent. This must be strengthened by partnership between government and business to provide long term incentives and opportunities to increase innovation in the manufacturing sector.

What is needed is new job creation with manufacturing of innovative high-tech, high-value, high-margin, non-commodity items. By encouraging national manufacturing strategies that focus on the high-skill, high-wage jobs of the future, and encouraging exports, we can improve American competitiveness. By focusing on improving our nations education system, we will continue to develop a skilled workforce ready for the increased demand.

Click Automation World (Oct. 2011) - To Generate Jobs, Discard Outdated Images

Click Amazon: Make It In America: The Case for Re-Inventing the Economy

Click 'Make It In America': Book Excerpt

Click Boston Consulting Group: Made in America, Again

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Pinto Keynote Speech - ThinManager Technology Expo, Las Vegas, NV.

Automation Control Products (ACP) is hosting the "ThinManager Training and Technology Expo" at The Venetian Hotel, in Las Vegas, NV. 24-26 October, 2011.

ACP ThinManager offers advanced technology for better security and Configuration of thin client networks. The ACP MultiSession core technology allows multiple sessions running anywhere on the ThinManager network to be viewed through one thin client.

At this Conference, every presentation will include analysis of the economic benefits associated with server based thin client computing and more specifically the increases in return that can be directly attributed to ThinManager.

Takeaways from this Expo will provide attendees with detailed documentation and quantitative results culled from 12 years of experience in the industrial thin client computing market. Terms like lower total cost of ownership and return on investment will be paired with real world case studies that demonstrate how using ThinManager can save your business real dollars both in the near term and over the long haul.

Jim Pinto's keynote speech will be on "The Expanding Future of Thin": He will discus how the pervasive Internet will spread in factories and industrial plants. Industrial automation is primarily I/O processing. I/O products will become increasingly more autonomous in functionality, with vastly more robust operation in systems which include literally millions of I/O points.

As the future unfolds, "thin" hardware and software will permeate the industrial landscape. The technology of thin-clients and thin-manager will encroach on conventional architectures. Software that orchestrates how, when and where these devices operate will be the key to managing the complex systems of the future. ACP is at the vortex of these fast-moving and far-reaching developments.

If you can make it to Las Vegas, come learn about the latest and greatest in thin client technology. ACP is committed to make this a significant, value proposition for all those who attend. And hey, let's meet and talk.

Click 7 Reasons to Attend ThinManager Training & Technology Expo in Las Vegas

Click Thin Manager - Technology Expo - Event Information

Click ThinManager Conference - Program Schedule & Information

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Pinto Keynote Speech - International Field Networking Conference, South Africa

The International Field Networking Conference will be held in Johannesburg, S. Africa, 8-9 November 2011. The conference will be at the Birchwood Conference Centre in Boksburg, close to the airport for national or international visitors.

This conference is being organized by Southern African Regional Profibus Association (SARPA) and the Fieldbus Foundation Southern Africa Marketing Committee (FFSAMC), cooperating with The Society for Automation, Instrumentation, Measurement and Control (SAIMC). This will be the first time this type of Conference is held outside of Europe.

Said Rob MacKenzie, chairman of SARPA, "It is far more important for users and potential users of field networking technology in southern Africa to know why and how to use field networks for instrumentation and control than it is to know which technology to choose. Which technology to use often depends on the process and environmental requirements of the solution but the true benefits of using digital communication are seldom realized".

Five international and five local speakers, including two large field network users have confirmed their participation. About 200 delegates are expected.

Keynote speaker Jim Pinto's topic is "Whither Fieldbus?": How effective are industrial networks? Who is really using them and in what types of applications? What are the real benefits other than simple reduction of cabling? What are the standards? Who is really demanding standards? Who is promoting them? How do Ethernet and Wireless change the game?

Jim Pinto will discuss these questions and provide some international perspectives on the progress and applications, trends and practices in the implementation of industrial field networking technologies. And Jim will also deliver whimsical relief with some of his poems on the Fieldbus and Wireless Wars.

I've spoken at a conference in Johannesburg before; several South Africans are on the JimPinto.com eNews list and are regular e-correspondents. While I am in J'burg, this gives us a chance to meet and chat awhile.

Click SA Instrumentation & Control - International Field Networking Conference

Click Field Networking Conference - Information & Registration

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iPads in Industrial Automation

Over the past couple of years since I got my first iPad, I have become very accustomed to using it for a variety of different things.

I read all my magazines - TIME, Economist, Wired and others - on the iPad. They are available at least a couple of days before they arrive by mail. It seems like waste to get the snail-mail edition.

When I travel, I don't lug around my laptop any more - just my iPad. Most hotels and airports have wireless and it's easy to connect to check email, and browse the web. When I'm on long flights, I read magazines, or play any one of the iPad games, or even watch a movie.

I check my bank statements on iPad, look for a choice of flights, book and check flight status, watch movies, or any one of the many TV channels - all from my couch, or while I'm still in bed in the morning.

How about the iPad in business, and more specifically the Industrial automation business? It turns out that there are all kinds of automation uses and apps that are starting to emerge for this handy tablet.

Automation World conducted research earlier this year to find out what people thought about the application of tablet PCs in industry. According to respondents, 49% of them already own an iPad, Blackberry, Android or other kind of tablet PC, and 78% planned to purchase. 72% said that they read work-related digital publications, and more than 50% said they read work-related newsletters and browsed Web sites on their tablets several times each week.

Real automation-world applications for tablet-PCs include:

  • Data monitoring on a tablet PC to view SCADA system info for monitoring equipment and system performance as well as decision-making.
  • Accessing automated work-order systems so that operators can scan to access bills of material for an order in process, or access maintenance procedures for particular equipment.
  • Have the tablet PC function as a portable human machine interface to operate terminal services applications at multiple machines throughout a facility.
You too can chip in with your thoughts and ideas in a discussion which has started on the Automation World LinkedIn group.

Click Automation World LinkedIn Discussion

Click Automation World - iPads & Automation

Click AW - How Automation Professionals Use iPads for Business

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Pinto poem: The "Occupy" Ballad

The movement originally known as "Occupy Wall Street" keeps growing and growing every day - estimated daily doubling. How long can that continue?

While the gatherings (which started in Wall Street) continued in New York's Zuccotti Park and Time Square, the crowds were much larger in California and other parts of the country, estimated at up to 50,000. They are sometimes only hundreds strong, but claim to speak for millions. "It's about democracy; it's about everyone having a chance to be heard."

Now the movement has spread to the rest of the world. Larger crowds of protesters keep gathering in cities like Rome, Barcelona and Madrid with estimates of 200,000 to 500,000 in each city.

The movement is morphing with the name, "Occupy". Friends told me there was an "Occupy Fresno" gathering in Fresno, California. And more and more are joining in.

The Occupy Wall Street website says organizers took their inspiration in part from the so-called "Arab Spring" demonstrations that are now trying to bring democracy across the Arab world.

While their message might be muddled, all are united by their anger over what they say is broken Democracy - a system that serves the wealthy and powerful at the expense of the rest.

Who are these people? These are not just anarchists and trouble-makers; they are ordinary Americans, some out of work, but others who are genuinely concerned that the country has become dysfunctional, with Big Money putting money in politicians' pockets, allowing a small minority (1%) to dominate.

What do the demonstrators want? Many are confused with the message. My poem: "The Occupy Ballad" was written on October 15, 2011 while the movement was about a month old, and growing. It may help to explain. Please feel free to copy and distribute.

Here are some of the verses:

In mid-September, started out slow
Thousands of jobless, with nowhere to go
Gathered to protest, their rights to proclaim
Occupied Wall Street; so that was their name

    Ours is Democracy, majority rules
    Yet 1% make the rest of us fools
    99% squeezed, we have less and less
    Poverty's spreading with widespread distress
Our credit rating was under the gun
Party-line politics got nothing done
Congress must act without partisan fights
WE are the People - WE know our rights
    Joblessness everywhere, 1 in 10 unemployed
    Political deadlock has our system destroyed
    Just one demand, one thing on all dockets
    Keep Big Money out of political pockets
More jobs and fair taxes is what we demand
That's what WE want, our line in the sand
Our numbers are doubling, worldwide every day
And who'll make this stop? We won't go away.

Please visit the website, and click on the LIKE Facebook button, or Twitter, or LinkedIN. Spread the word.

Click Pinto Poem - The "Occupy" Ballad

Click Occupy Wall Street Organization

Click NY Times: Geography of Occupying Wall Street (And Everywhere Else)

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Michael Marullo [mam@infonetrix.com] has a different view of how Manufacturing can create wealth:
    "While I agree that manufacturing creates wealth, manufacturing as we knew it in the past decades is essentially dead for industrialized countries and regions. That is, no matter how much we trim wages and cut worker/retiree benefits, reduce material costs and overhead, optimize transportation, etc. there is simply no viable way for us to compete with labor that is less than 10% of our wage scale, with essentially no employee benefits or regulatory burdens. Those things will eventually catch up in China, India and other emerging markets which are currently growing their burgeoning middle classes with wealth created from manufacturing (sound familiar?).

    "At the risk of being labeled a pessimist (you know I am not!), traditional manufacturing jobs are simply NOT coming back. Somebody needs to say that, and we need to move on. Unfortunately, even with stalwart attempts to cross-train and re-educate our workforce, most of that will come to fruition far too late to help the massive groups of unemployed that comprise the lion's share of our 9%+ unemployment rate.

    "The cold hard fact is that these people are not just unemployed; they are, for the most part, unemployable. We need a different breed of workers now, and I'm afraid it doesn't include many people riveting metal parts together at $50 an hour. It also doesn't require legions of MBAs that don't know how to do anything beyond minding someone else's business. (NOTE: I'm not down on all MBAs - just the ones that don't know anything beyond what NOT to do!)

    "Blame it on whomever you like politically, but this situation really has very little to do with politics. Whether a politician is pro-worker or not, I believe that a few years from now we'll look back on this period and say: Wow, that was a gut-wrenching time tantamount to what I'd call a reverse Industrial Revolution - at least for developed countries.

    "Bottom line: This IS the new world order, and we'll just have to get used to it. As Americans, we USED to thrive on this sort of challenge. Let's stop making lame excuses, avoiding the inevitable and looking for scapegoats. Instead, get on with creating and innovating provided we still remember how to do that!"

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Pekka Pihlajasaari [pekka@data.co.za] comments on previous comments regarding compulsory voting:

    "On this subject, a previous eFeedback suggested that compulsory Voting would violate the protection against compelled expression.

    "The Australian legislation that requires those on the electoral roll to vote does not affect their right to free speech (or non-speech as it may be) as they are free to spoil their votes to prevent them from being counted. What it requires instead is, subject to minor administrative penalty in the case of non-observance, that voters present themselves to perform a civic duty in the same way as the court can demand citizens to form part of a jury.

    "While this could be seen as an infringement on freedoms, it is commonly accepted that obligations or duties are a trade-off against the freedoms that are enjoyed in society."

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My old friend Cullen Langford [CullenL@aol.com] gives us some REAL history about the history of automation:

    "I would argue that automation started before the DCS and PLC era. The pneumatic instruments of the early '50s made the chemical industry far more efficient and increased quality. The cabinets full of relays made mechanical machines automatic.

    "The early use of digital electronics in the '70s gave us far more accurate sensors and led "bit by bit" to digital communications to complement the DCS capabilities. The '80s gave us the increased attention to process safety. This last development has not been fully implemented in fact. It is more "paper safety" than 'real safety'.

    "With the present trends in Washington's policies I am concerned that business in the US will flee to more business friendly regions. We have serious inflation even if Washington will not admit it. Those of us on fixed, actually declining, incomes will have to adjust our standards of living to suit."

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