From the Editors of CONTROL
Bolick began his presentation by describing Honeywell’s vision in terms of “four key things that I’ve seen evolving since industry has moved away from proprietary distributed control to more open systems architectures.” First, said Bolick, “Start with customer-required outcomes, not the hardware. We have to think of what issues are keeping customers awake at night.”
Focusing on these customer needs requires a global enterprise solution enabled by an open architecture, he said. “As we have come to the open systems of the Internet and intranets, we see all kinds of new opportunities developing. This kind of system can open up facilities, not just from top to bottom, but also across multiple facilities and the entire enterprise.”
Bolick added that he believes open systems will be driven by the push to wireless technology and communication. “In my view, wireless is a true inflection point,” he says. “We see process control networks being expanded by economical wireless technology to access needed data. We are going to get the cost per node of acquiring that data down to where we can produce real change.”
The drive to wireless and the amount of additional information it will make available to end users will put further pressure on process automation vendors to make their systems truly interoperable, he added.
“The quantity of data that will be available to users means they will be flooded with data. How do we filter this so people can make good decisions? We are going to have to make the interoperability of systems work.”
Bolick admitted that openness, connectivity and the amount of data that will need to be managed and filtered worries users because of the resulting complexity of the total system. “Many of you have told me, ‘We don’t want SAP complexity…we want TurboTax!’” he said. And while not promising TurboTax for process automation, he promised that greater simplicity and ease-of-use was the direction in which the company’s offerings would continue to evolve.
Bolick also introduced the company’s new OneWireless network, which he called “the only wireless network you will ever need.” The system will be backward-compatible and designed to be migrated forward in the future. The system “is going to revolutionize industry in terms of getting at data,” said Bolick. He predicted that early use will be for gathering non-mission-critical data, but that some time in the future, “We will get to the point where we can do a complete facility wirelessly.”