Our productive daily lives depend on technology standards. We may hardly give it a thought as we go about our routine business but consider some of the standards with which we interact on a daily basis: power outlets and voltages, credit cards, email, USB ports, wireless Internet, mobile phones, and the entire Internet. Each of these are specified in publically available standards that are created and published by industry experts, vendors, end users, and government bodies that have an interest in ensuring interoperability.
Without the work of these dedicated people and organizations and the adoption of the standards by the vendors and end users, the technology that we take for granted would quickly atrophy to aggravating impediments.
Some standards require very little on-going investment to maintain their relevance with end users – power outlets are such an example. Other standards require a great deal of maintenance - USB ports and wireless Internet are great examples. These standards are regularly updated to keep pace with their encircling technologies and end user requirements.
The FDT Standard has been a key enabler in the industrial automation marketplace for more than 10 years. Throughout this time, backward compatible updates to the standard have been published to add market driven features and to keep pace with platform dynamics. You might think that the FDT Group has a sizeable group of engineers on staff to accomplish this large body of work. In fact, the FDT Group only has a very small administrative staff and all of the technical work is carried out by volunteer industry experts drawn from the FDT Group membership. In any one year, more than 200 volunteers are carrying out the engineering, international standardization, and marketing of the free, open, and publically available FDT standard.
While the FDT Standard remains the most widely deployed device and network integration standard in the world, we are actively pursuing new capabilities for using the FDT standard on mobile devices and in secured network environments. These strategic enhancements to the standard represent a large body of work for our industry experts to navigate. I would like to encourage your company to consider joining this effort by becoming a member of the FDT Group and lending your expertise. Our membership classes are scaled according to the size of your company. End users and universities may join without cost. You will find more information about FDT membership on our FDT Group web site at: www.fdtgroup.org
Chairman of the Board of Directors, FDT Group