Why be a pioneer?

Every one of the companies involved in this demonstration here at ISP Lima, including BP and ISP themselves, has made a substantial investment "on the come" in Foundation Fieldbus technology. They chose to be pioneers, not followers. Considering that most of the time, the companies who are first into a technology aren't the ones who profit by it the most, why would they spend time, resources and manpower on doing something completely unproven? It is about vision. Every single one of these companies had one or more visionaries who said, "This is something we need to do." And each company had the vision to actually do something about it. Fieldbus technology is changing manufacturing beyond recognition. It is one of the enabling technologies, like AIDC (RFID, barcodes, etc.), that will actually make the vision of the agile manufacturing plant with realtime reporting and realtime control come true. Fieldbus will make human factors guru Ian Nimmo's vision of the operator as supervisor come true. Nimmo, you will recall, said on Tuesday that in his view, a serious plant upset was any time an operator had to intervene in the control of the process. So why be a pioneer? Because you have to.