New advances, from Industrial Ethernet to new motor controls and termination methods, have given rise to unforeseen changes in automation system design. Often, advances bring new requirements, and the need to rethink control panels and enclosures to ensure safe, efficient, reliable-optimized-performance.

Mobility Disruptive to the Way We Operate

Mobility Disruptive to the Way We Operate

I’m sitting at another industry technology conference. Speaker asks, “How many of you have a smart phone?” Almost everyone.

“How many have a tablet?” About two-thirds.  About eight years ago, Tony Perkins started a Website/company dubbed AlwaysOn predicated on the supposition that people were “always on” the Internet.

He was early. But now, most of us are always on. We can check email, flight status, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, messaging, sports scores at almost any time, any place.

These devices are migrating into our plants and factories whether management and information technology departments endorse it or not. Like many technologies, people are doing it, so management is better served figuring out how to make best use of the phenomenon than trying to bar the doors. The same thing happened with PCs in the mid ‘80s and throughout the ‘90s.

The enabling factor in the enterprise is WiFi—a technology that connects devices to the Ethernet network wirelessly. The other enabling factor is cellular—mobile phone technology. Combine those, and workers are more empowered with information than ever before. And they can get out of the control room or maintenance building and into where the action is.

That can only make things better for productivity.

>> Recipe for Ethernet: This feature article surveys the basics of an Ethernet TCP/IP network and whets your appetite for further learning. Visit

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