John Rezabek, in the latest issue of Control Magazine presents a simple question “Do users hunger for open standards?” If not, why not? Are the benefits of open standards just not clear or are they simply pushed to the back of a list of priorities? If you as a user are not demanding open, interoperable solutions that suit both the needs of you today, and tomorrow, are you not doing yourself a major disservice? At the very least, you’re inviting complex, one-off solutions that may end up being unserviceable a few years down the road as companies get bought up or shut down, or their custom integration engineers retire or move on.
John gives a great real world example from his plant on how scenarios play out 10 years down the road when these one-off highly customized solutions start having issues, and it’s a strong case for open standards. As John puts it, “…you just can’t be Apple to your customer and control every widget you sell”.
Be sure to read John’s story over on Control Global’s website here: http://fieldb.us/hungry
There is one way users can help stop fieldbus hunger, and that is with their wallets. By demanding open standards, users ensure plant longevity and future-proof their installations against proprietary, highly customized solutions that often come to an abrupt end when support discontinues.
If you are not familiar with FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management and the benefits it can provide, be sure to check out the F_ROM section of our website here: http://fieldb.us/f-rom
As the Fieldbus Foundation continues to develop and release enhancements to our Technical Specifications, it is important we clearly emphasize to our audience the impact that these latest (and future) improvements will have on the user experience. Next week, we plan to announce the latest release of our FOUNDATION Technical Specifications (2014.1) which largely deals with enhancements to address new the usability of FOUNDATION fieldbus. Importantly, it also refines a few of the specifications in order to prepare for the first official FOUNDATION for Remote Operations Management device registrations.
Guided by the End User Advisory Council for the Fieldbus Foundation, the organization started an initiative to quickly begin work on the usability of the technology. As we all know from experience, usability is a key factor in technology adoption. Things that are hard to work with and understand tend to never gain the traction they may rightly deserve. I rather find the iPhone parable a great example to illustrate the point. When the original iPhone was released to great fanfare, it really did nothing special. Blackberry had been allowing emails on their devices for years, every Tom, Dick and Jane had a phone with a camera on it…so what was so special? The answer is the usability of the device. It was the pure and simple beauty in a handheld device that was intuitive and effective.
For those of you that attended the Honeywell User Group down in San Antonio a couple of weeks ago, I hope you had a chance to listen to Darie Dreptate’s (Fieldbus Foundation) talk on the usability initiative. I understand it was very well received.
I hate to spoil the whole message on usability so I’ll direct everyone to an article I wrote for Industrial Automation Asia for full details…and believe me it’s exciting stuff you want to read about. I’ll give you a few hints though… Backwards Compatibility, DD Templates, Automated Device Replacement and PV Interchangeability.
Check out the article starting on page 18: http://flipbook.digiflip.com/IAA/May14/flipviewerxpress.html