Keeping an Eye on Technology Futures
No Hidden Agendas
Pinto picks for 2010 Top-5 Automation Technologies by
Here are my picks for the top-5
automation technologies that will make an impact this year:
Wireless is an enabling technology for new applications beyond just
wire-replacement. My hunch is that completely new applications will emerge with
new wireless capabilities. We'll see more and more wireless products announced
in this coming year, with standards being just an incidental nicety. It could
spark a new phase of growth that will re-energize industrial automation.
Embedded Intelligence & M2M
The "pervasive Internet" is still emerging in industrial markets. In spite of
the economic slowdown, perhaps because of it, M2M will burst through in the
coming decade with a plethora of products and applications. Most large assets
will include self-monitoring procedures, reporting up the hierarchy with
information such as uptime & downtime, diagnostics, usage and failure patterns,
and more. All this will become available at an affordable price, generating new
revenue growth for leaders.
Cloud-computing & Software as a Service (SaaS)
This is a burgeoning new area in commercial and office business, and growth will
spill over into factories and process plants. All but the most critical
components will be run "in the cloud". The switch will occur simply because of
the growing burden of technology obsolescence of capitalized hardware and
Plant & Factory Security Systems
Most of today's automation & control systems use the same hardware and
communications as broadly deployed networks. Apart from deliberate hacking,
worms and trojans can enter through mainstream systems. Automation systems
security has become an urgent issue, perhaps even a critical one. Effective
security protection solutions and services will generate good growth.
Automation rarely comes up with head-turning tech
break-throughs. Most high-tech gadgetry emerges first in the consumer arena (see
next eNews item). But rapid advances and low-cost availability will see plant
and factory personnel with iPhones and Blackberrys and Android phones in their
pockets, with a lots of low-cost industrial apps available. Get your Blackberry
to send you a bulletin when your boiler blows. Put your annunciator alarms on
your Android. Peek at your process panels with your iPhone - there's an App for
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