Think & Do, Steeplechase may ignite PC-based control

Merging Steeplechase Software into Think & Do Software does a lot more than unite two old rivals in PC-based control. The resulting company, Entivity (Ann Arbor, Mich.), will likely achieve critical mass of investment, products, and customers, which can finally bring this subset of control into the mainstream.

02/01/2001


Merging Steeplechase Software into Think & Do Software does a lot more than unite two old rivals in PC-based control. The resulting company, Entivity (Ann Arbor, Mich.), will likely achieve critical mass of investment, products, and customers, which can finally bring this subset of control into the mainstream. [See this issue's "Up Front" section for merger announcement.]

Among Schneider Electric Automation's (North Andover, Mass.) contributions to the new entity is Steeplechase, a recent acquisition. [See "Up Front," Control Engineering, Dec. '00. p. 2.]

Alain Marbach, Schneider Electric Automation's president, and Ken Spenser, Think & Do's president and now president of Entivity, recently granted exclusive interviews to Control Engineering about the merger's ramifications.

Mr. Marbach says Entivity is three times the size of its nearest PC-based control rival. This merger, plus a second round of venture capital financing, gives Entivity the critical mass necessary to propel its growth.

"We have the ability to execute world-wide support, web-based sales, and shrink-wrap dominance with this new company," says Mr. Marbach. "A clear benefit of Entivity as an independent company lies in its ability to develop an aggressive, multi-channel strategy to create a snowball effect."

Mr. Spenser adds, "The real benefit of PC-based control is not replacing PLCs. It is the ability to integrate various types of control and information. In fact, we could call this segment of the industry 'information control' as easily as PC-based control. This is a whole new ball game in the industry.

"People don't want to know about what's in the product, what the operating system is, or real-time kernel," Mr. Spenser explains. "Customers ask about what it does. Will it solve my problems? People want communication and monitoring. Challenges caused by rapid product changeovers, market changes, and global competition all are driven by information. Our products provide a solution."

"It is futile," Mr. Marbach concludes, "to stand in the way of web-based technologies."

For more information, visit www.schneiderelectric.com ; or visit www.thinkndo.com ; or visit www.controleng.com/freeinfo .


Author Information
Gary Mintchell, senior editor, gmintchell@cahners.com




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