WonderWorld Wrap-Up

Celebrating its 20th anniversary year, Wonderware, the Lake Forest, Calif.-based manufacturing software supplier, rolled out the red carpet for customers Oct. 23-24 in Las Vegas at its WonderWorld 2007 North America users conference.

Not surprisingly, the two-day affair featured multiple conference sessions detailing the uses, capabilities and benefits of Wonderware’s new InTouch 10.0 human-machine interface (HMI) and System Platform 3.0 software. Introduced with much fanfare on Sept. 4 by Wonderware—a unit of London-based Invensys plc—these products feature notable advances over previous generations of Wonderware products.

These include advanced graphics capabilities for InTouch 10.0 that are drawn from the Invensys ArchestrA plant automation and information architecture. Further, System 3.0 delivers major runtime performance updates to the Wonderware Application Server. When used together, Wonderware executives said, InTouch 10.0 and System Platform 3.0 can help customers in “Breaking Down Barriers to Operational Excellence,” the WonderWorld conference theme. About 540 Wonderware customers attended the Las Vegas event.

Product-oriented sessions at WonderWorld focused on agility, cost reduction, standardization and collaboration as four key elements to achieving manufacturing enterprise operational excellence. And the conference also featured presentations by customers on their use of Wonderware products that exemplified those four elements.

Customers speak

John Kuley, a section head at Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co.’s Household Care Business Unit, for instance, described how P&G has improved its agility through standardization on a small footprint controls system that it is using for expansion of its liquids business into developing regions beyond its U.S. and Western European strongholds.
The approach is based on an Allen-Bradley CompactLogix programmable logic controller (PLC) that communicates over Ethernet to a personal computer (PC) running Wonderware’s InTouch. The system, which also integrates a SQL server in a single Windows XP PC, is easily supported by P&G’s regional systems integrators, said Kuley. “We’ve set new benchmarks in our ability to deliver sophisticated batch systems all in one small box,” he noted. The system has been used in locations including China, Malaysia, Argentina, Venezuela, Russia and Egypt.

During closing remarks at the event, Wonderware President Mike Bradley Sr. challenged the company’s manufacturing customers to prepare for future global opportunities. “We all recognize that India and China are huge market influencers and opportunities, but with the acceleration of change, the next wave is already forming on the African continent,” Bradley declared.

African wave

 Quoting U.K. futurist Patrick Dixon, Bradley said that 1 billion consumers will come of age in Africa during the next 15 years. The impact of the $100 One-Laptop-Per-Child initiative in Africa, and the resulting Internet access, is immeasurable, Bradley noted. So-called “bottom-of-the-pyramid” marketing—already successful in India—will have a huge impact in Africa, he predicted. He said that 4 million low-income women in India, who live on less than $3 per day, purchase health and beauty products in six milliliter sizes or smaller. This represents 53 percent of the shampoo sold by one market leading company, and it is sold at higher margins than larger sizes sold to the wealthy at the middle and the top of the pyramid, Bradley observed.

 

“A real economic miracle is happening in Asia—a middle class that has middle class aspirations in education, health care, purchasing power, transportation and utilities infrastructure,” Bradley said. “Imagine if that also happens in Africa. Think of what this is going to do to the global economy. How will your company respond to these issues and opportunities?

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