Whither PCs In Industrial Applications

Jan. 27, 2012
I have had a few discussions with technology people from suppliers of process control systems about whether the trend to open systems went too far.

Maybe instead of the Microsoft method of opening things up and allowing lots of add-ons, maybe the process control market is ready for the Apple-style of closed control systems which optimize integration and user experience coupled with open communication.

I've asked the question at the Automation World LinkedIn Forum and am looking for comments.
Meanwhile, I spotted this excellent chart from Horace Dediu detailing the history of PCs. I was around at the dawn of using PCs in various manufacturing applications and I've seen several attempts to return to the centralized control model through "thin clients." But this chart, from Business Insider, shows PC sales leveling off while various types of appliances experience skyrocketing sales. What do you think this means for the future of PCs in manufacturing? Do we need full-blown PCs for operator interfaces? Other apps? Or will the new "ultrabooks" boost PC sales again?
[Originally Posted on Thursday, Jan. 19]

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