&rsquove got several things to tell you about this month. First, I want to report back to you about last month&rsquos National Manufacturing Week Show in Chicago. I always hope I can bring back some particularly hot or unique news to pass along that can help you with your network decision-making and problem-solving. It seems, however, that &ldquoWait â˜til next year,&rdquo a far-too-familiar Chicago Cubs motto, seems to apply here.
At least it&rsquos encouraging to see digital networks, as a featured topic or as an essential part of a control scheme, now just a normal part of the vendor conversation about machine and/or process control at a broad automation show such as NMW. There was ample evidence that fieldbuses and Ethernet hybrids are becoming supported by enough device makers to make potential specifiers feel they&rsquore not on their own here.
In addition, the wireless enablement of devices is gaining critical mainstream product inertia, at least by its increased presence. However, when I pressed a few of the exhibitors for some proof of industrial applications beyond the expected outdoor SCADA and remote-monitoring uses, I largely got either commercial examples or a litany of industrial projects for unnamable customers just off the drawing board that should be ready to talk about â¦ umm, soon.
But again this year, for every recognizable vendor exhibiting good things on the show floor, one or two more came were notable for their absence.
I don&rsquot mean to spend this column trashing the show, but it&rsquos irresponsible not to pass on to you just how marginal this show&rsquos value has become. The educational conference seminars&mdashat one time important and well-received&mdashwere dismally attended. The exhibit floor, corralled into a space half the size of the hall to create maximum attendee density, lacked the energy we have a right to expect from an important automation and design event.
No matter how the organizers spin it, the decision to move this show to a suburban convention hall next year won&rsquot resonate well with exhibitors or potential attendees. There&rsquos just not enough substance to seriously tempt you to go. For accuracy&rsquos sake, maybe it&rsquos time to rename National Manufacturing Week to reflect what it&rsquos become. How about the Northwest Suburban Chicago Manufacturing Couple of Days?
I know I&rsquom biased, but I think the success we&rsquove had matching up readers with specific spending initiatives with the right suppliers, via our no-nonsense Control Design and CONTROL AutomationXchange events, now does what trade shows did long ago: help you do business efficiently with the right people. If you&rsquod like to know more about how AutomationXchange might help you, drop me an e-mail or give me a call. I&rsquoll tell you all about it.
A word or two about a few things in this month&rsquos pages of Industrial Networking magazine: After you&rsquove read the Ethernet user-survey summary we present on page 22, I&rsquod be grateful for your reaction and response to how it matches up to your own perceptions and preferences about both wired and wireless industrial networking application. In addition, we&rsquoll be assembling Part II of the survey results for the summer issue. If there&rsquos something specific you&rsquod like to read about, let me know. If it&rsquos covered in the survey results, we&rsquoll include it or I can let you know directly.
Along similar lines, the Bandwidth column on page 34 opens a discussion about emerging Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology. Take a few minutes to read what Senior Technical Editor Rich Merritt has to say. I&rsquod like to know what you envision for its possible use down the road when a few of the current glitches get worked out.