JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success™
No. 238 : 25 September 2007

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

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13 mins.

This issue of eNews has items which will interest primarily those involved with industrial automation. For others on this list, I beg your indulgence.

The wild, wacky, wireless wars

Two weeks ago, the Hart Communication Foundation (HCF) announced official release of the Hart 7 Specification - which includes WirelessHart, the first open wireless communication standard specifically designed for process measurement and control, developed through the combined, cooperative efforts of HCF member companies, which includes all industry leaders.

There was a 11th hour appeal via an "open letter" from Honeywell, which itself is on the 5-member HCF board of directors, recommending that HCF adopt the not-yet-ready ISA100 for wireless networking. Other HCF board members are ABB, Emerson Process Management, Endress+Hauser and Siemens.

ISA100 is being developed to support multiple protocols, such as Hart, Profibus, CIP and Foundation Fieldbus instead of just Hart-7. This is being coordinated by ISA's SP100 committee, with a "draft version" ISA-100.11a expected at the ISA Expo in October (now just a week away). When was the last time a committee approved a draft specification in less than umpteen months?

The vote predictably passed 4:1, snubbing Honeywell. WirelessHart became the first officially released industrial wireless communication standard. The expectation is that multiple products will soon be available with the new standard. Of course, WirelessHART approval doesn't end the arguments.

At the launch of 'OneWireless' offering in June 2007, Honeywell kept refusing to be drawn on whether they supported Wireless HART, insisting instead that they supported HART-over-wireless. Most observers did not really understand the semantic difference.

It's about 2 years since Emerson demonstrated its lead with its wireless products. Since then Emerson has released products in advance of agreement on the standard with an undertaking that users would be able to migrate to the standard once it had been approved. The approval of WirelessHART now makes it easy for them to cement their lead, leaving Honeywell to protest about how ISA100 will provide better links to more protocols. Indeed, Emerson remains committed to working on SP100, and intend to make sure Wireless HART technology is included in that standard - when it is eventually approved.

Emerson has the most to gain if the standard emerges today; Honeywell has the most to lose if Wireless HART gains market traction. That is simply the basis of their two opposing positions.

Most companies in the automation industry recognize Wireless as a new "inflection point" which will generate significant growth and market share for the leaders. So, the "Wireless Wars" are generating even more wild and wacky non-sense.

This kind of noise is similar to what occurred during the "Fieldbus Wars" which started almost 2 decades ago. ISA was coordinating the SP50 Fieldbus standard, which never really got anywhere. In the end, some 10-15 different industrial networking protocols were approved as "standards". The situation was too funny to write about in regular prose - people would be offended by clear statements of what was happening. So, I turned to poetry - a crisp, lucid way of describing the situation.

Here (below) is my new poem on the Wireless Wars. I trust you'll enjoy it.

Click Automation World - WirelessHart Ready for Prime Time

Click Walt Boyes, CONTROL - An open letter to the SP-100 community

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Pinto Poem: The Industrial Wireless Quadrille

    With Apologies to Lewis Carroll
    Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - The Lobster Quadrille
"Will you walk a little faster!" cried Honeywell to the ISA snail
"There's an Emerson right behind me and he's treading on my tail!
We need ISA-100 now for wireless to advance
End-users have been waiting long and they will join the dance
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
    "You can really have no notion how delightful it will be,
    With this broader standard, why can't we just agree?"
    "WirelessHART!" cried Emerson and would not change their stance
    ABB, Siemens, E+H too, just would not join the dance.
    Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance!
"Lets join our games, pretend we're friends!" then Emerson replied
"'Cause everyone wants WirelessHART, it's ready NOW beside
ISA-100 will take too long, it really has no chance
So why don't you just join our game and then we both can dance!
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, won't you join the dance?"
    Honeywell an open letter wrote, "Can't you see that HART's too narrow?
    ISA-100 includes all protocols that we will need tomorrow."
    Then lots of others gave their view, each trying to enhance
    With open-letters flying around, it was the strangest dance
    Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
These wireless wars have now become a Fieldbus deja vu
New SP-100 equals old SP-50 times two
The industry keeps spinning round while the leading vendors prance
Each seeking the advantage in this latest wireless dance
Will you, won't you, will you, won't you, will you join the dance?
    The wireless market's growing fast and who will be the champ?
    The lobbying goes on to see who now will join which camp
    In this dance and whirligig, are end-users there perchance?
    'Cause this is for them, the vendors swear, as they prolong the dance
    Will they, won't they, will they, won't they, will they join the dance?
©Jim Pinto
24 September 2007

Click Lewis Carroll's original poem - Lobster Quadrille

Click Read Jim Pinto's Fieldbus Poems

Click Pinto 1990 poem - The Fieldbus Quadrille

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ISA - International Society of Automation

Just over a year ago, I considered ISA to be a "melting iceberg". Since then, the organization has been making good progress, and plans are crystallizing for new growth and success.

Executive Director Pat Gouhin, who joined in January 2006, has excellent related experience with the dynamics of volunteer-driven organizations. He has clearly developed a strong relationship with the volunteer chain-of-command, which now has a consistent vision focused on the future.

While originally an "instrumentation" society, ISA is now involved with the broader aspects of "automation" and aims to be a catalyst for creation of the automation profession of the future.

The original name was reflected in membership (about 29,000 total) being overwhelmingly American - 65% in the US, 10% in Canada. To be a successful global organization, the membership percentages should be the inverse of the current ratio, about 75 % from outside North America. If one makes the reasonable assumption that domestic membership has stabilized, then international membership should generate growth of at least 300%, to well over 100,000 members.

Next week, at ISA Expo 2007 in Houston, society delegates will vote to change ISA's name to International Society of Automation, reflecting the two important differences in focus: "International" and "Automation". I heartily recommend this change.

Click ISA Global Strategy Moves Forward

Click ISA - New Growth Through International Automation

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ABB plans for continued growth & success

ABB expects sustained revenue growth and increased profitability under its mid-term strategy for 2007 to 2011. Demand for new and upgraded power infrastructure and further industrial investments in improved productivity and energy efficiencies are expected to continue in all regions.

ABB plans to maintain its current core portfolio of businesses and aims to build on its leading technology and strong market positions in the fast-growing emerging economies to increase revenues organically at almost twice the rate of market growth and three times the rate of global GDP growth.

ABB expects profitability to increase by as much as 5% during the 5-year period, compared to 2006. As a result, earnings are expected to grow by a compound average of 15-20% per year, and after-tax return on capital will exceed 30% by 2011.

This strong position continues to fuel the news that ABB will soon make a move to acquire Rockwell. Meanwhile, Rockwell hired ex-Ford manufacturing people to run some of its US manufacturing plants, causing lots of layoffs and plant-closings. Distracted by these screw-ups, Rockwell is reported to be girding for a fight. Stay tuned...

Click ABB expects sustained growth and increased earnings from 2007 to 2011

Click ABB considering Rockwell acquisition

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Yokogawa still targeting process automation top-spot

In Feb. 2005, Yokogawa's President and CEO, Isao Uchida, openly boasted (unusual for the Japanese) that their Vigilant Plant systems will win a leading market-share for Yokogawa by the year 2010.

Yokogawa continues to re-assert the commitment that it will lead the world process automation market, with only about 3 or 4 years left to reach fulfillment. Yokogawa reports that it has passed one significant milestone - for the first time winning more than 50% of total sales from outside the Japanese market.

Andrew Bond writes in his respected UK Industrial Automation Insider:

    "Yokogawa's dominance of and the effective exclusion of its main competitors from its home market means that it needs to achieve a significantly smaller share of the market outside of Japan than its Western rivals to achieve overall global market leadership. For that reason, the fact that it now derives less than half of its sales, 47.2% in 2006 - 07 to be precise, from its home market could mark a tipping point and herald an acceleration up the international pecking order."
Yokogawa continues to lead both the Chinese and Far East markets and its share in North America and the UK (about 6%) are showing significant growth. Worldwide last year the company grew sales by 11.5% and operating income by 15.6% and increased its return on sales from 6.5% to 6.8%. Significantly, R&D investments will increase from 8.4% to 9.6% in 2008.

Click Feb. 2005 - Yokogawa targets the top-spot

Click Yokogawa VISION-21 & ACTION-21 corporate strategy

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After reading my article on big-pharma lobbyists and US congressional corruption, Francis Lovering [F_Lovering@controldraw.co.uk] discusses UK medical care:
    "Reading about Pharma Lobbyists in the USA immediately made me thank heavens that we in the UK have the National Health Service (NHS). Most Brits love it. And advertising prescription drugs here is illegal.

    "We also have an organization called NICE: http://www.nice.org.uk/ Among other things it tries to ensure that expensive drugs that are no better than cheaper equivalents are not prescribed. Of course Big Pharma lobbies against it, but I am happy to have my taxes used that way."

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Rob Koene [Rob.Koene@Fluor.com] has some comments on my article that technology is making us stupid:

    "Although you are right on many points, I am not entirely agreeing with your statement about remembering telephone numbers, birthdays, and other calendar/address stuff.

    "Many millions of people have been using agendas and 'black books' for ages. I guess that if we ever learn to read Cro-Magnon we may find out that some of the drawings on cave walls actually depict birthdays or hunting appointments. Cavemen must often have been in a hurry then too, to go hunting....

    "What it comes down to is a phrase I read about people glorifying the 'simple life' of earlier generations, while for those earlier generations (aka the 'simple lifers') life was not that simple at all....

    "I can remember (1952) the 1st television set to be moved into our living room with my father's lame excuse that he wanted to see the world news. At that time, the main delivery of the news was the newspaper. They were sent by slow planes and couriers and so it often took days before you knew about stuff happening outside your country.

    "Starting with CNN and later Internet the whole dog-and-pony show became instantaneous. You will not hear me complaining about the good old days EVER. I would never want to go back to operator handled international calls, making engineering drawings on transparencies, almost getting killed by the ammonia of the blueprint machines, the cold war, no computers, kick start motorcycles, rusting cars, etc.

    "The only good things were the low gas prices, no traffic jams and trust-in-your-government (since you did not know any better) and great music, of course."

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Gerry Shand [Gerry.Shand@jacobs.com] from Canada has this to say about people becoming obsolete:

    "You've been discussing the importance of engineers re-inventing themselves because of the changing technical landscape. This is common with any high-profile or high-stress profession. Here are a few examples:

    • Sports: When the body quits, so do you
    • Movie Stars: yesterday's star, today's news, tomorrow's has-been
    • Pop Artists: Same as movie stars
    • Medical and Dental: Always new ways to perform surgeries, procedures requiring less or even no hospital time, faster healing typically without any scars
    • Banking: who uses manual-entry anymore?

    "There are several other examples of other professions and this is a common theme: Those who cannot adapt, learn new skills, or do not have a back up or succession plan to use their other resources wisely (brains, intellect and money) end up being broke and destitute. Quite a shock from when you were a celebrity.

    "Why should the engineering field be any different?"

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