JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 199 : 22 December 2005

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

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Season's Greetings

    For those who celebrate Christmas, my best wishes for peace and happines. You'll get my traditional "email Christmas" poem soon.

    For others, Season's Greetings and my sincere wishes for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!

Honeywell acquires Tridium
Key M2M/Pervasive Internet move

Honeywell has just recently (Nov. 30 2005) acquired Tridium, a relatively small (85 people, $13.4m revenue) software development company based in Richmond, VA. developer of the Niagara (TM) Framework Open System Infrastructure.

Tridium has been a neutral supplier of software technology to a wide range of OEM’s including Honeywell, Invensys, Staefa (division of Siemens), Johnson Controls, Carrier, Square D, McQuay, Distech, National (a brand of Matsushita in Japan), WattStopper (a division of LeGrand) and others. Their business model is founded on the concept of providing a software framework that makes it easier for their partners to create Internet-enabled devices, Internet and web-based automation solutions and device-to-enterprise applications – the field that is being referred to as M2M or the Pervasive Internet.

All types of real-world measurement and control products will eventually be assigned IP addresses, and there will soon be more machines and sensors than humans communicating via the Internet. For several years now, I've been preaching M2M and Pervasive Internet as an emerging market, a major growth arena for automation companies. This Honeywell/Tridium linkup is the first real breakthrough

Automation companies are directly involved in real world measurement and control applications. Their core sensor, automation, control and power businesses could stimulate emerging M2M revenues, and in turn M2M could be their catalyst for growth. Honeywell appears to be the first of the majors to make this move.

Honeywell says that Tridium will continue to operate as a separate business entity within their Environmental and Combustion Controls ECC) business. Hopefully the big organization won't smother the creativity and drive of this true up-start.

Tridium has many advantages for Honeywell, including its third-party network and channel, as well as a rich base of technology and partners that reach beyond just building controls. Tridium technology could allow Honeywell to broaden its reach beyond just automation, into the age of device-IP networks.

Jack Bolick, President of Honeywell Process Systems comments directly:

    "The Automation and Control Solutions business of Honeywell has been quite aggressive with acquisitions this year. The Tridium acquisition is just another chance for us to strengthen our portfolio more than we already have. Tridium has had great vision for device-to-device communications and data gathering. The combo of that vision and technology with Honeywell's already deep portfolio will be a great thing for Honeywell customers. I expect that the industry will have trouble finding anyone else that will be able to offer such leading-edge technology.

    "Process Systems is in sync with our sensors and controls groups to look at ways to leverage the sensor capability interfacing with Experion. We'll be helping them to understand and meet the industrial-grade environmental packaging and safety specs so that we can utilize the technology in the industrial channel."

Click Harbor Research - Commentary on M2M and Pervasive Internet

Click M2M Magazine - Harbor acquires Tridium

Click M2M - the OEM advantage

Click Jim Pinto on Pervasive Networks

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Control: 10 things end-users need to know about vendors

In today's competitive global markets, end-users are scrambling to reduce costs and improve asset utilization. Many large companies have eliminated systems engineering and maintenance, preferring to outsource these functions. Mirroring this change, large controls vendors are expanding their offerings to "total solutions" responsibility, including systems integration, supply logistics, training and maintenance services.

Clearly the selection of a supplier, especially for large control systems, is a complex undertaking. The impact may last several years, if not for decades. To help end-users with automation vendor selection, I developed a checklist organized in 10 categories.

I must tell you, I didn't develop this list from my Ivory Tower in San Diego. It was compiled from discussions with experienced end-users, as well as feedback from key top-level executives in major process control companies. You can review the list in the December 2005 issue of CONTROL magazine (web link below).

In the next several years, technology will continue to accelerate, and there will only be a few large systems suppliers remaining. The customer base and technology environment will not support R&D expenses for several different control systems platforms.

End-users will need to make a strategic choice to select winning suppliers who can manage ongoing technology changes, so that they themselves can focus on core process improvements and market shifts.

Click Control Magazine - 10 things end-users need to know about vendors

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The Genetic Revolution is already here

Do you subscribe to, or listen to, the "Harrow Technology Report" by Jeffrey Harrow? This occasional (perhaps monthly) newsletter is a technology summary from a guy who did technology planning for COMPAC in its hey-day. You should signup. It's good, and it's free.

Genetic Engineering is one of the technology shifts that will soon have a disruptive impact on humanity at large. Jeff Harrow's latest newsletter includes an item, "The Genetic Revolution is already here". I've summarized it here, with some of my own extensions.

These days, genetic engineering (modifying a living organism's gene structure) is making news headlines regularly. The results are already starting to emerge in many areas.

Europe has now approved genetically-modified (GM) corn, designed to thwart a parasite that attacks traditional corn, thus bringing greater yield per acre. We may soon find that GM food is safer, more abundant, perhaps better tasting, and less costly (better yields). Of course, no one really knows the long-term health issues.

Genetic Engineering
In 2006, cats will be available that don't release the dander to which many people are allergic. "Gene silencing" techniques are used to suppress cat's production of the natural (human allergy causing) protein in cat skin and saliva. There are more of these types of pets coming - e.g.: a glowing zebra fish (addition of a fluorescent sea anemone gene) has been available in pet stores since 2004.

A company called "Genetic Savings & Clone" is already in the business of cloning cats - the personality isn't cloned, only the body. Currently this costs $50,000, but prices will soon come down, as the techniques are perfected. Dog-cloning is more difficult, but it's coming.

Cloning technology is advancing rapidly to where humans will be cloned - sooner or later. Once this becomes technically possible, it will happen increasingly in countries that have no ban on cloning. Clones may be developed to "harvest" their organs. Have you seen the recent movie: "The Island"? (Web link below.) This will soon raise serious ethical and societal questions.

Undoubtedly genetic engineering will start to be offered for Humans - for resistance to viruses like cold and flu, or perhaps for cancer-resistance. Will you accept medications to make your baby smarter, taller, stronger? Why not?

These are the broad issues that genetic engineering and cloning will raise, beyond "technical" feasibility which is certain. The results are so awesome and world-changing, that many people prefer to believe that it simply won't happen.

What do YOU think? Will it?

Click Harrow Report - The Genetic Revolution Is Already Here

Click Animal cloning and "chimeras" - human cloning next

Click Signup for Jeff Harrow's "Harrow Technology Report":

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Automation.com Launches New Product Showcase

Hey, you can now search very effectively online for all types of hardware and software relating to automation, control, test and measurement at the new "Automation Showcase" launched by our friends at Automation.com. (Note, this is a recommendation, not an advertisement - JimPinto.com does NOT accept advertising).

Why use AutomationShowcase.com?

  • The only automation website focused strictly on NEW products.
  • Quick search by product category, manufacturer and release-date.
  • Easy-to-use request form for more info or a quote: once you submit a request, all future forms are auto-populated with your info.
  • New products are NEW products - they'll stay for just 6 months.
Try it, you'll like it!

Click Visit Automation Showcase

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Nation Public Radio - "This I believe" program

My son David Pinto brought to my attention National Public Radio's "This I Believe" program. This NPR program invites you to write about the core beliefs that guide your daily life. NPR will air these personal statements from listeners each Monday on "Morning Edition" and "All Things Considered". NPR hopes this creates a picture of the American spirit in all its rich complexity.

"This I Believe" is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward Murrow. In spite of the fear of atomic warfare, increasing consumerism and loss of spiritual values, the essayists on Murrow's series expressed tremendous hope. Each day, millions of Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists and secretaries. Their words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism and racial division.

In reviving "This I Believe" NPR's goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs, but rather, to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.

Visit NPR's "This I Believe" webpage and you'll find short essays by John McCain, "The Virtues of the Quiet Hero" and "Unleashing the Power of Creativity" by Bill Gates (web links below). You can read, or listen.

I'm working on my own 350-500 words submission. You may wish to take a look, and submit your own essay.

Click NPR: This I believe

Click John McCain - "The Virtues of the Quiet Hero"

Click Bill Gates - "Unleashing the Power of Creativity"

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Peter Jessee [pjessee@seaportcontrols.com] was reading the eNews issue on Poverty (6 Nov. 2005) and has this to say:
    "A lot of the points you make in this eNews are dealt with in detail in the book 'Perfectly Legal'. It exposes the actions of the 'Donor Class', that buys politicians of both parties in order to avoid paying taxes and be able to accumulate wealth without hindrance.

    "It was very eye-opening to read how the IRS has been emasculated from chasing abusive tax dodges, but is directed by Congress to focus on welfare and child care tax credit abuse that is a tiny fraction of the loss to the treasury. I had to stop reading several times because I was getting too angry."

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CullenL@aol.com [CullenL@aol.com] commented on the friendly scourge that is often more of a nuisance than spam:

    "I don't see that spam much in my AOL account any more. They seem to manage to block much of the trash mail. My 'spam folder' picks up maybe 5 messages a day, compared to 20 or 30 legitimate ones. Today, my biggest gripe is my 'friends' sending out those useless chain letter messages. How do you tell these too-innocent folks that they should not clutter up the Internet with this stuff? And then they forward messages with all the addressees visible, just begging for spam to be sent for everyone on the list.

    "I am also put off by the careless writers who seem to have no respect for spelling or grammar. They need to be told that, if it takes too much energy to figure out what it is that they want to say, I won't try. Also irritating are those web page makers who put dark letters on black, and use 8 point fonts. I will not even try to find out what they say. I have emailed some to tell them that. One came back with the advice that I should print it to read it. This is not very likely if it takes too much energy. With all these improvements, comes a whole lot of new waste."

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Ron Davis [ron.davis@synchrony.com] wrote on executive compensation:

    "For quite a while I have thought that executive compensation should be based on a multiplier of their underlings earnings. We continue to read about the ratio between CEO compensation and front-line employees growing over the past few decades.

    "If a company is successful, the benefits should be shared amongst all who labored to earn it. By placing a cap on this multiplier, a CEO could only raise his own compensation by improving everybody's lot in life."

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