Automation technology suppliers never fail to tell you how critical end user input is to the ongoing development of their products and services. It’s one of the principal reason behind their user conferences.
The FDT Group is now taking that concept one step further by creating a cloud-based survey tool that allows anyone in industry to offer their input on the future direction of the standard. Though the general concept behind this idea is a straightforward application of crowd sourcing, I find it particularly interesting that a standards group is one of the first examples of this I’ve seen in the manufacturing or automation industries (aside from GE's Open Innovation). After all, most standards development processes are typically closed to input from all but a select group of professionals or organizations.
"By moving our data collection into a cloud based technology, we break down the last remaining barrier to individuals and organizations wishing to contribute to the development of our technology roadmap,” says Dan DeYoung of Rockwell Automation who serves as chairman of the FDT Group Technology Marketing Committee.
Not only does the cloud survey technology give industry pundits contributory access to the roadmap, it also enables contributors to stay up to date on the technology roadmap by requesting push updates on the status of their contribution.
The tool, which can be accessed at http://techsurvey.fdtgroup.org, allows the contributor to describe any proposed new feature or capability for the FDT standard as well as a simple use case. All input is reviewed and prioritized by the FDT Group Technology Marketing committee. Once incorporated into the technology roadmap, the FDT Group Architecture and Specification committee will engineer the capability into the FDT standard and release it to the public.