ARC forum scopes future needs, trends
Challenging manufacturers to respond to Internet and web-based opportunities, Andy Chatha, president of ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, Mass.) kicked off his organization's annual two-day Automation Strategies and Technologies Forum on Feb. 8, 1999. Mr. Chatha says manufacturers must seek to: become web-enabled organizations and cultures; improve ROI of enterprise and ...
Orlando, Fla. — Challenging manufacturers to respond to Internet and web-based opportunities, Andy Chatha, president of ARC Advisory Group (Dedham, Mass.) kicked off his organization’s annual two-day Automation Strategies and Technologies Forum on Feb. 8, 1999.
Mr. Chatha says manufacturers must seek to: become web-enabled organizations and cultures; improve ROI of enterprise and control systems; integrate enterprise and control systems; find partners with common goals; and keep employees trained in new technologies.
The forum also highlighted seven technology trends to watch in 1999, including: Microsoft Windows 2000 and CE operating systems; Microsoft DNA and Sun Microsystems’ Jini; declining hardware prices; embedded control and human-machine interface (HMI) applications; Ethernet-based networks; USB networking; and object-based software.
Though some benefits of Sun Microsystems’ Java for embedded applications were discussed, it was clear most applications are being developed for Windows platforms. Bill Thompson, ARC’s senior analyst, presented several reasons for developing embedded systems using Windows CE. Win32 APIs write to CE. CE tightly couples with hardware platforms, is real-time and deterministic, and includes DCOM connectivity.
Dick Caro, ARC’s vp, stated bluntly that Ethernet will become a device network. Low installation and ownership costs and Internet integration are driving controls engineers to evaluate and install Ethernet at organization control layers. In addition, low-power chips capable of running TCP/IP are appearing, and low-cost Ethernet switches are available. Firewire, IEEE 1394, may become an attractive network for motion control applications, some speakers suggested.
Duncan Schleiss, Fisher-Rosemount’s representative, added that fieldbus networks can increase productivity by providing the mechanism to move maintenance from a reactive/preventive method to a predictive format. Many vendors reported products using these technologies will be available in 1999.
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