In last month's column, I outlined Dr. Robert Metcalfe's vision for a "Google of Things," where - using standard Internet tools, software, radios and networks - we will be able to Google our machines just as easily as we Google everyday information. Metcalfe, inventor of Ethernet, extends embedded networking to a future that includes linking network node data to enable powerful search and inference.
For now, these networks exist primarily in the minds of visionaries such as Metcalfe. But with this month's issue, I'm thrilled to announce that Automation World has put a powerful Internet tool in the hands of our readers, with our newly designed Web site at www.automationworld.com.
At AutomationWorld.com, you'll find the type of must-have information you've come to rely on, but organized in a way that makes sense to you, our readers. Dave Newcorn, our vice president of New Media, explains, "Certainly, Google has set the bar for accuracy, usability and lightening-quick speed. But if you search for "machine safety" on Google, for example, the results aren't differentiated. On AutomationWorld.com, they're called out with easy-to-read tags that differentiate content type, such as products, news, columns, skills primers and white papers."
Channels of interest
For quick, click-to access, we've organized the content on the Web site by areas of discipline, channels, products, applications and industries. The left-side navigation bar makes it easy to jump directly to a channel or area of interest. As Newcorn puts it, "No clumsy fold-out menus - everything's always right there for you to see, on every page of the site."
To find targeted information for your particular responsibilities, click on the discipline that most closely matches your job description: Operations & Engi-neering, Managers & Executives, or IT & Networking. You'll be connected to a page chock-full of links to content that will help you to be more efficient in your job.
With this launch, we've introduced five channels that encompass every aspect of Manufacturing Automation, including Automation & Control Systems, Networks & Connectivity, Production & Performance Management, Service & Support, and Training & Events. Clicking on a channel area brings you to a mini-site of information and resources that will quickly bring you up-to-speed on new developments.
Moving down the left-hand nav bar, you'll find lists of Products, Applications and Industries. Clicking here links you to content-specific information for that particular product, application or industry.
Catch a Podcast
Another great feature of AutomationWorld.com is the wealth of multimedia options it offers for Webcasts and Podcasts. Says Newcorn, "These presentations are easy to use, easy to find, and contain valuable information for Automation World readers in an engaging format. They're great for listening during the morning commute, or during a workout."
Archived on the site are several on-demand Webcasts covering Ethernet, Security and Packaging, as well as opportunities to register for upcoming events.
Don't miss Editor in Chief Gary Mintchell's Podcasts, "Automation Minutes," that highlight news and opinions from his automation treks around the industry. And for a bonus feature to Managing Editor Wes Iversen's article in this issue, click on the Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Podcast to hear his interview with RFID analyst Mike Liard.
What does New Media vp Newcorn have up his sleeve next for AutomationWorld.com? "We will continually look at ways to enable Web site visitors to interact with other visitors in a trusted environment. Everybody's up against the same problems and it's often a great help to contact peers at another company to see how they've handled a given issue."
Stay tuned as we look, learn and bring you the best in Web-based tools and information.