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 155p.

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 move.

Click The Invensys press release that started the crunch

Click UK Financial Times news story

Click Blunt LEXnews analysis

Click More comprehensive UK FT article than the others

Click 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 these questions.

Automation Decline 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…..

Click 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.

Click 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.

Click Discussion, by James Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of StarTV

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

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