Party Like It's 1999!

Where will you be December 31, 1999? Unless you already have reservations, you won't be staying at Walt Disney World or jetting around the world on the Concord. Those parties are sold out. Maybe you'll be lighting bonfires in Iceland, or ringing bells in England; partying in Rio de Janeiro, or at a beach bash in Sri Lanka; watching the world's "first light" on the slopes of Mount Hakepa i...

01/01/1999


Where will you be December 31, 1999? Unless you already have reservations, you won't be staying at Walt Disney World or jetting around the world on the Concord. Those parties are sold out. Maybe you'll be lighting bonfires in Iceland, or ringing bells in England; partying in Rio de Janeiro, or at a beach bash in Sri Lanka; watching the world's "first light" on the slopes of Mount Hakepa in New Zealand, or watching the world's 24 time zones celebrate on giant TVs in New York's Times Square.

Wherever you ring in Year 2000, we hope you won't be worrying about Y2K meltdowns in your automation systems. It's not too late to take remedial action, as our story on page 51 points out. The article includes a reference table of products and services for Y2K solutions.

As we prepare for the new millennium, our cover story, "Countdown to Year 2000," previews major developments in control and automation. Among key trends are increased use of commercial systems, such as PCs and networks; vendor-customer-integrator partnerships; human-factors engineering; integration of business and plant systems; and optimization of control architectures and strategies.

The year of the Internet

Last January, Control Engineering editors named 1998 the "Year of the Network." Indeed, we saw significant growth in product availability as the 10 or so networking standards gained supporters in vendor communities. With product solutions came more users willing to take on the "pain" of a new architecture to realize the "gain" of cost savings and productivity increases. Search back issues on our web site at www.controleng.com , keywords "networks" and "communications," for articles.

To gage user support of industrial networks, we are undertaking a major research survey of Control Engineering readers around the globe. You can participate by completing the online form at www.controleng.com/network.htm . We'll summarize results—who's using networks, where, and how—in a special supplement to our March issue.

If 1998 was the Year of the Network, 1999 promises to be the Year of the Internet. At last year's trade shows, nearly every booth had a "web-enabled" solution to plant automation. From Group Schneider's Transparent Factory to Total Control's (now part of GE Fanuc) Factory Web, web-based architectures will be the new millennium's answer to PC-based control.

Are we there yet? Not by a long shot. The traditionally conservative automation and controls market will eventually be dragged into the next millennium by the gee-whiz technologies we take for granted in our homes.

With over 84% of our readers using the Internet on a regular basis, Control Engineering will continue to improve our world-class web site at www.controleng.com. In 1999, we'll feature Online Extras to every issue—unique stories you'll only find on our web site. We'll launch a new reader service, called "Free Info," to bring you electronic access to our free information card.

We'll publish two comprehensive buyer's guides—one in mid-June on control and automation products, one in mid-December for automation services. Both guides will be available on our web site for interactive database searches and hot links to suppliers. And remember, it's easy to resubscribe to the magazine on our web site.

We look forward to bringing you into the next millennium of control and automation solutions. Send me an e-mail and let us know how we can keep you up-to-date and Y2K current. And if you want to party like it's 1999, search the web, keywords "New Years 1999."


Author Information

Jane S. Gerold, Editorial Director jgerold@cahners.com




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