JimPinto.com - Connections for Growth & Success
No. 16 : September 12, 2000
- Invensys Crunch Time
- Why is the Industrial Automation Market declining?
- Sniff Generators & Virtual Aromas
- Think Global - go local
- Brush up on your Hindi
Crunch time at Invensys
Shares in Invensys, the UK-based industrial automation leader, fell by 36%
(to 167p) on Thursday (7 Sept.) after the company warned that results would
be down on the same period last year and up to 3,000 jobs were to be cut.
On Monday, 11 September, as this eNews goes out, shares closed at about
Invensys was involved in the controversial and risky takeover of Baan, the
Dutch software group just a couple of months ago, though Allen Yurko, the
Chief Executive insists that poor results have nothing to do with that
The Invensys press release that started the crunch
UK Financial Times news story
Blunt LEXnews analysis
More comprehensive UK FT article than the others
Read the complete Invensys+Baan story and Pinto Baanalysis
Why is the industrial automation market declining?
Industrial automation markets are declining and have been for a few years.
While there are indeed some pockets of growth, on a broad front industrial
markets are stagnant. As a result, the majors are all scrambling, looking
for new markets, mergers and consolidation as a means to survive.
My recent articles The Changing Face of Automation (Feb.2000) and Urge to
Merge:2000 (Aug. 2000) have stirred up a lot of discussion. While most of
the financial facts are simply a matter of record, none of the industry
journals provide this type of strategic information and straight talk.
Understandably, they are reluctant to offend their major advertisers. But,
as a result, most industry participants - vendors, customers, sales
channels - continue to be blissfully ignorant of the fact that leadership
is changing hands, talent is migrating to greener pastures and
consolidations are occurring because business is stagnant.
I have had several related e-mails about the points I raised. I’d like to
particularly thank Doug Jensen, Chief Scientist,
Information Technologies Directorate, The MITRE Corp., whose recent
e-discussions stimulated renewed thinking. Why are industrial markets not
growing? Why are margins shrinking? Is the decline temporary? Is the
malaise worldwide? My recent article (published in the September issue of
Industrial Controls Intelligence & Plant Systems Report) helps to answer
Read the Automation Decline article
Sniff generators & Virtual aromas
My friend, Tom Rose, of Western Research, Boise, Idaho, reports that it was
his friend Marvin Minsky, Professor at the MIT Artificial Intelligence
Laboratory, who challenged him to think about the need to engage as many
human senses as possible, when it comes to computer interface. And Tom
brought this news item to my attention.
A year or so ago there was a story going around about a breakthrough
technology that would smell-enable Websites. A little box that attaches to
a PC and emits smells when triggered by the HTML smell tags. This was
plausible and preposterous at the same time - but it was a hoax.
Now, if this is not another hoax, somebody's really done it! Digiscents,
based in Oakland, CA. are producing a little box that really does attach to
your PC and emits smells when triggered by smell software. Now Digiscents
have announced an agreement to acquire SenseIT, Israeli-based developers of
a rival scent-sensing technology.
The company's trademarks tell the story. There's the iSmell scent
synthesizer peripheral device. There's Snortal, the smell-enhanced Website.
Just imagine the possibilities: smoke-bomb viruses, the stench of your
email box filled with multiple spam smells, musk-enhanced chat rooms…..
Reuters, NY - news item
Think global - go local
Just because your company has established a B2B presence on the Internet,
does NOT make your business global. Making B2B truly global is far more
complex, with many new issues to tackle : language translation, potential
cultural disconnects, constantly changing regional tax and tariff laws,
finding and establishing relationships with new international partners and
extending supply chain and logistics systems to accommodate them. These
things are part of a process that just begins when your transactions move
to the web.
Organizations planning a global B2B push should first seek local partners
that can help smooth such difficulties. And they should be patient. Setting
up supplier and partner networks that make global B2B hum almost always
takes longer than you might expect.
Excellent eWeek item worth reviewing
Brush up on your Hindi
In the U.S. and Britain, cultural imperialism marches on, unaware of
surging non-English markets, or still believing that the lingua franca of
the modern age is and will be English. Anglo and American countries that
have assumed that simply broadcasting around the world, CNN-style, or
exporting products with English-language-based documentation and websites,
is a sufficient global strategy.
It is clear that the world is moving toward four dominant language groups:
Mandarin, English, Spanish and Hindi. Further, the advent of a connected
marketplace is accelerating and compounding this reality in very
recognizable ways. These four language groups have emerged as the leading
forces in the world for the foreseeable future.
If you are competing in the global media business, these forces are
irresistible and you ignore them at your peril. They define our markets and
customers quite clearly. They are more powerful than geography or politics.
And they create markets far broader and more dispersed than anything we
have ever seen in any one region.
Discussion, by James Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of StarTV
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