Archive for March 2013

New Technology versus Old School

Tom Carico, PMP Tablet

 

I have been working in the Water and Wastewater Treatment market since 1987.  Over the past 25 years, I have noted some considerable changes to our market.  Some of the changes were good and some not so good.

 

I remember all of the discussions and arguments over which fieldbus communications would be the best standard; only to watch the market continue to use Ethernet while all of the Large Powerful Companies could not come to a standard that everyone could agree upon.  I remember back in the early 1990’s when it seemed that everyone wanted and needed a DCS (Distributed Control System) system; no consideration was given to the size or complexity of the system.  It was the new buzz word for the industry, so everyone needed it; even if they found that they could not afford the long term maintenance costs of a DCS.

 

I saw the pendulum swing to the other extreme in the late 1990’s to where everyone felt that just any ordinary PC could run their plant without any thought or consideration as to what would happen to the plant control system when the PC fails.

The PLC (Programmable Logic Controller) was thought to be on the way out over the past decade, first the Soft PLC was going to replace it, then PC controls to HMI Script Language, but it seems the PLC remains the dominant reliable controller in our industry.  The PLC does not require weekly or monthly virus updates but has been “hacked” in the past, so it must be considered somewhat vulnerable in this day and time.

 

I have worked for (2) two companies for over the past 25 years of my career; both were System Integrators working in the Water and Wastewater Treatment markets.  The market has been slow to change over the past decades due to so many Old School ways of thinking that makes us unable to see and use New Technology solutions.

 

As I get older; I am recognizing that it is sometimes difficult to adapt to new ways of thinking and be open to using new technology.  I started using text messaging about 4 years ago in an effort to communicate with my kids.  Now I use it to communicate to our Field Service Engineers on the job and my supervisor if I am going to be late due to traffic.  Over the past 2 years I have been using Linked-In, Facebook and Twitter to communicate new ideas and technology.

 

Change seems to be a way of life in our market; how will we use smartphones, tablets, video-conferencing, VPN remote access, Virtual Technology, Cloud Usage, WAN, Mobile WAN, Security Optimization, Website, internal communications, email,  updates, to do our jobs better and become more productive.

 

Today over 40 million people are over the age of 65 – the largest and fastest growing demographic in America.  10,000 people a day, turn 65 years old, a trend that will continue for decades.  The question in my mind is “How do we leverage New Technology” for this fast growing community.  Understanding how to use social media markets and new technology keeps us from reverting back to Old School.

 

All of Life and not just industrial automation seems to be a great adventure of changes.  The question is whether we will embrace New Technology so that we can learn and grow or will we refuse and get left behind.  We all have the choice; New Technology versus Old School.  I have chosen to embrace New Technology and to let Old School just be good memories of my past like my first Commodore 64 computer. #makingnewmemorieswithnewtechnology

Old School Tablet